Self-styled as ‘The Black Shakespeare’, his music is full of eloquently expressed messages against various structures of oppression. More than anything, he promotes free thinking, speaking out against tyranny in all its forms. Even his very stagename is suffused with meaning – Akala is actually a Buddhist term, meaning ‘immovable’.
He has recently released a graphic novel called The Ruins of Empires. Inspired by the Comte de Volney’s 1791 text, Akala’s version (as described on his blog) ‘…follows ‘The Knowledge Seeker’ through the course of human history, via astral travel and multiple re-incarnations, in an attempt to discover the causes of the rise and fall of empires.’
Akala did a live reading of The Ruins of Empires at the Gate Theatre on Sunday. The stream-of-consciousness flow as well as the sheer intellectual and philosophical scope of the piece could be quite difficult to take in at times. As a whole, though, it was a captivating experience.
He aims to have it made into a theatrical production in 2015. At the Q&A afterwards, an interesting question was raised regarding whether it would be adapted from its current format to fit the entirely different realm of the stage. Akala explained it would of course be reworked significantly as required.
With this in mind, I’m sure The Ruins of Empires will be a great theatrical success. It crucially gives a voice to the colonised. Yet the immense breadth and highly politicised urgency of the story also taps directly into much of the disenchantment currently being felt by people around the world towards corrupt systems of power.