My Kids Decide Roles I Play-Sola Sobowale

Veteran actress Sola Sobowale temporarily relocated to the UK in 2002 so as to attend to some pressing family matters. Though she has made a few cameo appearances in films shot locally ever since, the bulk of her time is spent in the city of London. The thespian in this chat with FRANCIS OGBONNA, STEPHEN AYA and AYO OGUNOJEMITE tells the reason for her relocation, her grouse with the government and other issues. Excerpts…

You have plied your trade as an actress for over two decades now, what would you say is your legacy, if you were to exit the screen now?
About leaving a legacy or something else, I would say that we are not getting enough encouragement from the people up there, by that I mean the government so as to be able to leave a legacy. There are a lot of things they could have put in place, which would create the right platform for upcoming artistes and others who see you as role model to be able to tap from your experiences. I will give you a typical example. If there is any area in life that we as a people are lacking, it is in the area of family values and I know that people could learn a lot from our works, but how can they learn if I am not able to showcase that because I don’t have the support of the government? I actually came back to the country (from the UK) with a fresh project, of which my plan is to through it showcase some family values, but the several visits I have made to the government at the local, state and federal levels yielded no results. By the way, I already have a legacy! If for nothing else, everyone can tell that I know my onions. They can tell that I know my act and that I am very good at what I do. I have been successful at what I do.

Why do you rarely visit Nigeria again?
I have lived outside for 12 (15) years now, because my children and their education. I am a mother and have respect for motherhood and can’t trade it for anything else. My children need me and because they come first, every other thing takes back seat and glory be to God, today most of them are graduates; I just have one left that will graduate in July 2014. So for me it is mission accomplished. So when that is done, I will return back home.

Have any of them (your kids) taken to acting?
They have always been interested in what I do. They know my job, they know what I do and when I bring scripts home, they go through it and they tell which ones I can or cannot do. One of them featured in Everyday People while they were doing their A levels in UK. They did film, scripts writing, directing and so many things for them.

Do you find time to act abroad?
Yeah, not just abroad, though I don’t live in Nigeria for now, I still come back home once in a while to do what I know how to do best, but my base is in London for now. However, like I said before, my kids come first, so they get the best of my time.

Apart from coming down home to act, are there other things you engage in there?
There is dignity in labour! I am not ashamed of working hard or doing what other people call odd jobs as long as it is legal. I can do anything for money as long as it is not theft, cheating or selling myself or my morals. If it is to sweep the street of London to make money to survive there or keep my children going, I Sola Sobowale will do it. I have heard them say “how can she move from grace to grass?” “How can a whole movie star in Nigeria be doing this kind of job here?” in England when I am going to work I don’t hide myself. I put on my uniform from home. On my uniform it is written there “Household 21” this is me. I am not ashamed and I don’t give a hoot about anybody when I know that I can’t beg for money so why should I pretend?

Is your job social-work related?
I am what you might call a support worker and I am proud of what I do.

Did our Toyin Tomato role attract to you any negative consequences?
Yes, but it doesn’t matter to me. This is because people stoning me or raining abuses on me only points to one thing, that I am good at what I do. If I don’t do well, they won’t haul stones at me.

Did people literally throw stones at you?
 Yes they did! I have heard all manner of abuses. They even threatened to kill me, but I told them not to and they ran away. There is also a positive side to all that, it meant different things to different people. There are instances women have walked up to me and told me that my role in Super Story has helped them to restore their marriages, especially relationships that have been disturbed or threatened by the second woman. I am happy the role has touched lives and changed many homes for the better. Super Story’s ‘Oh Father, Oh Daughter’ actually boosted my reviews. Never has my acting career enjoyed such rave review, acclaim and boost, as it received because of that series.

Thanks a lot ma.

You are welcome