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“Aburo” Is A Satisfying Deviation From Common Storylines

Rapidity is the essence of war, and Aburo is a soldier.
May 17, 2024
11:55 am

Directed by Yemi “Filmboy” Morafa, “Aburo” tells the story of a boy whose life takes a surprising turn when he steals a wallet.


Aburo (Maleek Sanni) is a street kid, a foot soldier of a gang of street urchins with every vice under their belt. But Aburo is not just a street kid, he is a street kid with speed. When he coyly steals the wallet of Mide Tuschel (Efa Wara) and is asked to give it back, he challenges Tuschel to come get his wallet himself. This is when a race begins. Tuschel runs after Aburo, but Aburo outruns him and gets to keep the wallet.


It is not surprising to Tuschel that he was challenged to a race for his own wallet; what blows his mind is the boy’s speed. Tuschel was an international athlete who had won many gold medals, so being outrun by a scrawny little boy in the streets ruffles his feathers. He realizes that Aburo has a gift that he is misusing and takes it upon himself to put the boy’s gifts to good use, but Aburo has other issues he must first outrun.


“Aburo” is a film that is different from the rest. While highlighting the issues faced by children who live in the slums, it does not decide to give us our thousandth ghetto story. It takes it a step further by highlighting the many gifts that children from these dark parts of society possess and what can happen if these gifts are harnessed.


One thing that draws you in, making you interested in this film, is its use of track race to get the story going. A story that talks about sports is not the norm in Nollywood. This is how “Aburo” invites its viewers; it pushes audiences to see how Nollywood pulls this strange feat off and it does not disappoint. It is a wonder why many of our stories do not talk about sports, and the huge influence it has on the lives of Nigerian children.


“Aburo” also shows us that behind every curtain of privilege is a pain of its own kind. We are introduced to this truth when we meet Oduwa (Prince Buchi), a boy who attends the same school as Aburo’s sister Rofi (Darasimi Nadi). Oduwa is a “fresh” kid who is the polar opposite of Aburo. He is from a comfortable background, he attends school, and he is a fast runner who has earned the nickname “Breeze” That is no name for a snail! Unlike Aburo who runs for the wrong reasons, Oduwa runs to become a professional athlete someday. However, like Aburo, Oduwa cannot outrun his troubles. His father stabs him with words, day and night.


Another curtain of privilege is Tuschel’s. He is a soft “Yankee boy” who only speaks English. He resembles a young man who has had everything handed to him, but reverse is the case. Tuschel has had everything taken from him. He went from being an international track god who won many gold medals, to being a “has been” with a limp after an unfortunate incident cost him his ankle and his glory as a result. Unable to dominate the tracks anymore, Tuschel is trapped in Nigeria and his mind, basking in past glory and unable to run from the pains his shame brings him. Tuschel and Oduwa bring a balance that exists in reality to this film.


Yemi Filmboy Morafa
Yemi Filmboy Morafa

This balance is also realized by Oduwa, Aburo, and Tuschel collectively. When Aburo first meets Oduwa, Oduwa is running a track race for the senior boys in the school and his sister Rofi is singing his praise. Mentioning his nickname “Breeze” ever so lovingly, she tells her brother that she is certain Oduwa will win. Aburo does not like this. He cannot believe that his sister sings the praise of another when he is as fast as a jet. He tells his sister a tale about running to Ketu in a few minutes and proclaims himself a “Ghetto Jet”. Aburo knows that “Breeze” has got speed and there is just a little fire needed to get this rivalry started. Soon enough, Breeze, unknowingly, lights this fire.


Oduwa, aka “Breeze,” first gets a taste of this “Ghetto Jet” when he calls Rofi a Sickler. Quick as a flash or a jet, Aburo attacks him, pushing him to the ground and beating him till he gasps for air. He sneaks into his home with a bruised face as his personal monster sits in the shadows waiting for him. “A champion does not sneak into his home,” Oduwa’s father begins, and it is a whole day of derogatory sentences from a man who has a degree in sarcasm and toxicity. For Oduwa, this is the beginning of his rivalry with Aburo.


The film’s use of characterization adds beauty to the narrative. Maleek Sanni who plays the titular character “Aburo” understands the assignment and successfully carries it out. He portrays the poster street child with his body movements, facial expressions, and mannerisms. Apart from his stubborn side, Sanni expresses his character’s love for his sister with his heartwarming smile. When he speaks to Rofi and Aunty Edak (Toni Tones), he is different: warm, soft, respectful, and kind. It is hard to believe that his character is the same one who stole a wallet without remorse and bragged about beating someone to a pulp. When he trains for his final race in the film, Sanni displays remarkable talent in a scene that wavers in the stoniest of hearts.


Prince Buchi plays Oduwa, Aburo’s rival. He is berated by his father, and this takes a toll on his self-esteem. Buchi portrays this by slouching his back and keeping his head low each time he is in his father’s presence. His face depicts a loss of strength from exerting himself to please his forever ungrateful father. When he is finally able to stand up to his father, his posture changes and his face becomes joyous and youthful again. Buchi did a good job of expressing many emotions while speaking a few words.


Charles Inojie is Oduwa’s venom-spitting father, a man who has allowed the death of his wife to transcend into spite and hate for his only son. Despite his tongue being filled with nothing but venom, Inojie’s mannerisms are hilarious. Notably, his character experiences a major shift and Inojie portrays this shift believably, making you feel sorry for him meanwhile he has hurt people and tried to hurt some more.


Efa Iwara plays Tuschel, the failed athlete who lives in pain, emotionally and physically. His joy and glory were zapped in the blink of an eye, but with his keen interest in Aburo, he gets the spark he has been looking for. Iwara, just like the other actors, put his heart into this film. He expressed raw emotions. A scene forever embedded in hearts is the motivational speech he gives Aburo as the rain pours heavily. The clouds were not the only ones weeping as Iwara showcases a side of Tuschel that anyone who has failed at something would relate to.



The other characters carry their weight in “Aburo” strongly, bringing this work to a great completion. Toni Tones who plays Aunty Edak, Yemi Cregx who plays Pompei−the selfish, thieving leader of the street gang, and Darasimi Nadi who plays Rofi, all contribute to the film’s success.


The writers of “Aburo” put their best foot forward, delivering a tale that transcends the borders of the normalized “boy-from-the-ghetto” Nollywood films. The film succeeds in its relatable storyline as it captivates audiences who may or may not have a similar life story to that of Aburo. Every scene proves necessary, and the ending deserves all the praise in the world.


In terms of cinematography, “Aburo” shines with appropriate lighting and scene transitions. During cumbersome scenes, the camera remains poised and steady, ready to show us every angle required to make the film the masterpiece that it is.


“Aburo” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.


Release Date: May 1, 2024

Runtime: 2 hours

Director: Yemi Filmboy Morafa

Streaming Service: None. Cinematic Release

Cast: Maleek Sanni, Prince Buchi, Darasimi Nadi, Charles Inojie, Toni Tones, Efa Iwara, Yemi Cregx, Wumi Toriola, Gbemi Akinlade, and Peju Ogunmola

TNR Scorecard:


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