Saturday, 26 March 2016


Seasoned actress and director, Joke Silva, is one of the most respected thespians in Nollywood. With numerous awards in her kitty, Silva has inspired many talented actors yet she continues to look young and fit for the roles on stage, television and films. The lady of charm and candour.

Married to a veteran actor, Olu Jacobs, their relationship is a model in the industry. Arguably Nollywood most experienced couple, Joke explained what has helped them come this far: “One of the things that have kept us together is respect for each other. Second is forgiveness for each other.

I think it’s so key even for the young people who are getting married now. Sometime you hear things like, ‘haaa Mummy Jay, I can never forgive him for what he did to me or no I will never forget it in my life. Fine, you are entitled to your anger, you are entitled to it.

Over the years, I have realised that you must forgive each other. When Christ was asked how often does one forgive his brother in the bible? He said 70 times 70 times. It is in marriage that you do that 70 times 70 times.

If you don’t learn to forgive each other honestly it’s not going to work because neither of you is perfect. And I think also one of the things that we’ve learnt, we were not always like that, but we’ve learnt over the years to be honest with each other, to be honest about our feelings to each other”.

As a star actress married to an equally effervescent actor, Joke, reveals what it’s like at home. Away from the glitz of stardom, back at home, Joke and Olu are just ordinary persons doing what your next door neighbour does daily.

“It’s as simple as that. At home I’m simply Joke and not a celebrity. The same goes for Olu.” Three decades and counting yet this couple doesn’t show signs of waning attraction for each other.

Probing to know whether or not the bubbly actress does the cooking and other domestic chores like everyone else elicited a response that underscored her unassuming disposition. She was blunt about the truth with regard to her attitude to the chores in the kitchen.

The actress made a revelation about her person which is contrary to what many think, especially those who believe that her career may have changed her. “I have never lied about it. I’ve never been the cooking kind of woman.

When my husband met me,he knew. He was the one that used to do the cooking because he was so good at it. I did the cooking when I felt like it, when I just feel like ‘oh, I want to go into the kitchen and cook’.

Sometimes it was a huge success and sometimes an abysmal failure. Once during our dating years, I cooked ‘Efo’ and it was drawing. And he was just such as gem, he ate it and it’s not as if my mum didn’t teach me how to cook ‘Efo’. He’s just an amazing man.

Yes, we do all the house chores together. We do all the things that you do as a normal family. I think for my husband, he hasn’t had the time to cook; cooking for him is therapy, but it’s not for me. For me it’s a chore. And yet, he will always tell you ‘I look after him so much’.

But I do that in other ways. Now of course, we have somebody who does the cooking, I’ve assigned them to cook the way I like. And we have people who do the house chores and the general cleaning.

For someone like my mum, cooking for her is a therapy, keeping the house nice and neat and all that for her is a therapy but no, not me. I remember someone was saying that I was ‘a beautiful decoration’ when they heard that I didn’t like to cook.

My husband was so mad and his retort is that: ‘you don’t know half of what this woman contributes to this relationship’. Do you understand? He was really upset. He said all those trying to pigeonhole roles are old fashioned.

There are women who love cooking. I have friends who adore cooking. I would sit down and watch them and say: ‘wow!’ Joke might not be the best hand on cuisines, but no one can take away her charm and warmth.

That she’s effortlessly cheerful is no praise. Would this be a kind of therapy? It is a well-known fact that as a judge on the popular reality TV show, MTN Project Fame, she’d been criticised for being too emotional.

“If you know the kind of mother I have, people who know my mum will say: ‘little wonder!’ That’s how my mother is. But to get a smile out of my late father would be as ‘easy’ as having the camel pass through the eye of a needle.

But my mother was always the smiling one.” But every home has its downside except Joke tells us hers is different. “In my home, when I have my low moment, my people know and they stay clear. But during the low moments, I just found out that by the time I have shouted here and shouted there, I would still go back to God.

I just go back to God and lay it on His feet. Once I’ve handed over, and I am not one of those that hand over very easily, I let go. I always believe that I can sort it out. And that’s one of the things my husband doesn’t understand.

For him, if there is a situation he just sleeps, but not me. But finally, when I have done the sleepless nights over and over again, I hand over.” Joke also addressed the MTN Project Fame criticism: “I don’t care.

That’s their own. I mean you see the growth of these contestants then it gets to the point where you feel that this person is normally so good and at this particular time they just had a bad day and it’s a day when they should go? It’s not as if they are not good enough. It can be very painful.”

We resumed discussion on the box office after rounding off the talk on her family and lifestyle. 

She holds impressive optimism for the movie industry. “Nollywood is doing very well. It’s been celebrated all over the world and Nollywood is in the process of reinventing itself and that is one of the reasons I have never accepted to limit industry to just the past twenty years. I refuse to.
I always say that Nollywood is actually a name that was found for the entire film industry. The film industry has had several cycles in its lifespan and one of the cycles was the time of the Ogundes, Ladipos, Ade Loves and then another cycle was when you had the Kenneth Okonkwo intervention and all that.
Another cycle has come again, where you have some people coming with different kinds of films, the Kunle Afolayans, Tunde Kelanis and so on. Each time this cycle comes, it always raises the bar. And which is exactly what we want.

So, that’s what I see happening in Nollywood. But Nollywood is in a place now where it needs to solidify its structures. Like the late Amaka Igwe would say, the time for celebration is over. It’s now time to make sure we have the structures in place. And that has been happening”.

With over three decades in the Nigerian movie industry, it is only natural to enquire from this veteran what her secret of staying power is. “Wow! God’s amazing grace, allowing me to do a job that I enjoy.

Do you understand? Because a lot of times when you are doing a job that you enjoy, you don’t realise that you are working until you get home or you are done for the day and you are exhausted. God’s amazing grace for allowing me to belong to that profession and also having an amazing, amazing husband who belongs to the same profession and who is proud to be an actor, a producer.

He’s made me have an extra sense of self-worth for belonging to this industry. And then, it also occurs and I guess that would be God’s gift again, in the sense that, we are in an industry that is beginning to flourish, that is beginning to attract attention from various areas.

One of the things that I have discovered in my years as a performer, as a producer, as a mentor for so many of the people who have come into the industry and are now flourishing, is the fact that, we are at the stage where Nigeria celebrates its performers but doesn’t support them with the necessary tool to be able to take it to the level that it should be.
It celebrates us, there is no doubt about it, and we celebrate ourselves. Our art form is part of our cultural memory. Without a cultural memory, a people will always make the same mistake over and over again, thinking that they are doing things for the very first time.

A cultural memory is important for those who come after us to know what we are like and to have dignity about who they are, that is so key. We do some things as a people because we have not achieved our cultural history.

Those are the things that I am saying. It’s beyond money. Money is important, finance is important for us to able to do the kind of things that we want to do. But there are other structures that need to be put in place and our cultural history is part of it.”

Source: The Telegraph
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