It Was Love At First Sight With Joke – Olu Jacobs Opens Up

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It Was Love At First Sight With Joke – Olu Jacobs opens up
Nollywood legend, Olu Jacob, in a new interview, has opened up on his childhood, meeting his wife, Joke Silva and acting career.
Read interview below:


“One has been so involved that you don’t think of how bizarre things
are. There was a time we used to carry big boxes around as telephones
and you would not be able to make or receive calls in some areas.

“Television came to Nigeria in 1955 during the Western government
headed by Obafemi Awolowo. It was fantastic that we could see them and
hear them talk immediately.
 “I was in Abeokuta and by 5am, we used to race all the way to Ake
because there was a public viewing centre there – so you had to rush to
get a position.
 “They were magical. They dragged me into it until I settled and accepted that this is my life.”
 THE FATEFUL EPIPHANY Jacobs had always been an innate art
aficionado but he never felt a connection until a certain day when he
was “sent on an errand” by his mother.
“I saw a lorry, people sitting, playing music and the music was
good. They were giving out leaflets, I got one and showed it to my mom
at home.” But like the typical Nigerian mother, she was concerned about
his chores.
“She said: ‘Ehn, go where? Have you done all I asked you to do? Do
it and let’s see what happens’.” A condition had been placed on his
attendance and he was determined to surmount it. “I went to my brother
and we quickly finished all my chores, my mother couldn’t believe it;
then she said she would allow me.”
 “On the day we got there, there was a long queue, luckily for us, I
was at the foot of the stage. All of a sudden, the lights went off,
Hebert Ogunde’s music started and the lights came back on.”
 At that point, Jacobs had his epiphany and realised that he was
among kindred souls. “I sat there and I told myself that this is what I
will do. There is nothing better than making people feel good.
 From there, I featured in all church productions even the ones that were supposed to feature only girls.
” FATHER’S DEATH & JOURNEY TO ENGLAND Actualizing his dream of
becoming an actor was a bitter-sweet process. Jacobs had wanted to
travel to England to pursue his ambition but his father opposed him –
for mainly two reasons: because he was the closest to him and would
surely miss his companionship, and secondly, he said he may die before
his son returns to Nigeria. The latter happened — and it shattered the
actor who was perceived as his father’s right-hand man and listening
ear.
“My dad used to enjoy his Star beer and I was the only one who had
the courage to ask for some. I am the fourth child but I was his
favourite,” he said, with nostalgic fondness. His first acting gig in
England came by happenstance.
Jacobs had tagged along with a friend — a fellow wannabe actor — to
audition for a movie. While there, he was urged to audition and he
impressed. As fate would have it, he got the role. “I went to England in
1964.
Then, every black actor I knew were based in London and there were
too many actors chasing too few jobs and outside London, there were no
blacks.
Then to get a role, you had to be a union member, to be a union
member, you had to have a job. You would go to castings and they would
say ‘sorry, your name is not on my list’.
 “One of my friends who had gone to England before me was a member.
He was going one day and I asked if I could go with him. We got there
and I read to the director. He said go and meet the production manager.
By the time a bigger agent took over, I was one of the top actors
my former agent recommended. “Then I told my agent that I wanted to
start taking jobs outside London because there were no jobs in London,”
Jacobs recounted.
RETURN TO NIGERIA
 After two decades of working as an actor in England, thoughts of
home clung to his heart and he made the decision to return, if not for
anything, to help develop the Nigerian movie industry.
 “I looked at everything after 20 years and then I saw where I was
and all the things I had been doing and if I could do half of them in
Nigeria, I would have been able to help a lot more people,” he said.
Returning to a structureless movie industry wasn’t exactly the most
inviting of decisions, but he took it and journeyed back to Nigeria.
 Upon arrival, reality danced in his face like a mosquito hovers
around a sleeping prey – but he was sure that coming back was the right
decision.
 “When we started, we were sure we were going to make it,” he said.
A year after he came back, he met a lady who would eventually become
his wife, best friend and life partner. Jacobs said that when he laid
eyes on Joke Silva, he immediately knew she was the one.
“I met after a year that I got back. When these things happen, they
just happen. I was invited, we were having a production and I saw a
beautiful lady, I just consulted our director.
“When it happens, it happens,” he said again, this time attaching more emphasis.
“She’s my best friend, it’s her natural position,” he quipped.
Together, they have charted the path and blazed the trail for today’s
generation of filmmakers and actors.
From inception, they were both certain that the sweat of early days
will build a structure, an industry that would birth a generation of
actors and the spians, Jacobs said.
 “When I retire, the one thing that will make me feel fulfilled is
when I can watch the new generation and say yes, we did it,” he
declared, partly triumphant, partly expectant.
*Source: The Calls

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