In the next few days, veteran actress, Mama Rainbow will be 77. Left to her, she would just have celebrated it low key because she had an elaborate party last year. But her fans want her to come to Dubai to celebrate her birthday. And so many of her fans all over the world will be converging in Dubai in a few days time to celebrate last week.
She spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Head of City People TV, SUNDAY ADIGUN about her plans. Below are excerpts of her interview.
We heard you are celebrating your 77th birthday in Dubai. Why Dubai if I may ask?
GULF platform UAE is the one that said they want me to celebrate my 77th birthday in Dubai. We will leave Nigeria on October 28th and come back on November 3rd. They asked of my most preferred artist and I told them it’s Wasiu Alabi Pasuma because he’s always been there for me. He played for me when I clocked 70 and 75. Dare Melody is also going with us. I asked people to follow me and they are already.
What has kept you active despite your long stay in the industry?
It is the grace of God. I am not mocking anybody but to glorify the name of the Lord. I’ve seen 60-year-old people using a walking stick. I’ve seen those that are not even up to that. It is the Grace of God I’m enjoying. If you are looking for that woman that stresses herself so much, look no further, I’m the one. This year makes it 36 years that I lost my husband. He left me with 5 children, taking care of them all alone. It’s not that I don’t want to remarry but most men are liars. They will eat your food and sleep with you for nothing. That is what I don’t want that made me chase them away. But God has been helping me. At times some people will look at me and say I don’t look different at all, the way I looked at 70 it’s still the way I’m still look up till date. It’s the Grace of God I received.
Is there anything you do to relax?
Like today now, I’ve been in-door since morning, I took my bath, ate and read my bible. I love singing a lot. It is when some people hear my voice they will know that I’m around. I love to sing and praise my God every day.
How do you juggle running of the ministry with acting?
God has been doing that as well. I never planned to start a church. I ran away when God called me. But He dealt with me seriously. There were times we had nothing to eat, and we are over 15 in number. I always cry after every morning devotion. I was advised to seek other powers but I refused because I know he’s the one that called me and I’ve surrendered to him. And ever since I started I have never regretted serving him. Will I go to Seye Kehinde and ask him to assist me and ask he would deny me? Will I go to Toyin Kolade, Alhaja Muraina, or Idowu Obasa for assistance and they won’t attend to me? No. God has blessed me with all of these people. Emmanuel Awode, the owner of Finecoat Paint and many others have always been my supporter. And I’m also ready whenever they call me to any location. Though I always ask them to notify me early and to give me the exact date and time I will go on set, and once I’m done I return back to my house. What I’m doing now in acting is to keep my relevance. If you invite me for Engagement as Alaga, I’m also ready. I still handled one recently. But I always stay in-door if I have nowhere to go because it’s good to rest.
Why did you run when God called you?
Because I didn’t see Prophets/prophetess achieving any meaningful thing in life, I was also looking at my responsibilities, thinking of who will help me. But God has been on my side all along. He’s been shouldering the responsibilities even more than my imagination. What I was initially scared of was taken care of by him.
Looking at your life so far, the journey of 77 years, what has life taught you?
Life has taught me to have God, and to trust in Him, put Him first in everything. One of my bosses used to tell me that if you use charm it will only work for 7 years, after 7 years you must renew it. I was given incense to bath but I drank it instead and smoke started coming out of my ear, it was then I realized that I’ve drank what I was supposed to bath with. So is it me now any herbalist will tell something and I will remember? I always thank God that he made me know Him. You can never miss it if you know the God that you serve. I didn’t say you should not take care of yourself. But on my own, I’ve surrendered everything to God. When people asked if I was not going to get married, I told them I’m married to Jesus. He’s the one taking care of me. Once you give yourself to Jesus you have everything, and if you are a Muslim surrendered yourself to Prophet Mohammed (SAW).
Considering your calling, what are your dos and don’ts roles?
That has passed. I remember I told them I can’t act like a witch. Why, because churches don’t really understand our job that much. Some will begin to talk once they see you on their television acting like a witch. So I told them I will not do any witch roles. But my daughter, Funke Akindele made me changed my mind in Apaadi when she persuaded me. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t aware that the witch role will end Apaadi and Obi Abata. But because of the ignorant people that don’t understand, they sometimes think those that acted witch roles are witches in real life. But now there is no role I can’t act.
Was there any regret or any situation that wasn’t palatable in your journey through life?
The death of my husband wasn’t palatable. He was the one that introduced me to theatre practice. How can he die just like that without informing me? This was my question then. I thought my whole world has crashed that year. Men became like faeces to me.
What led to his death?
We were told they poisoned his drink. He was a carefree person He was elite. He graduated from the University of Lagos. He went with his friends to Abeokuta and his drink was poisoned. We didn’t know because he was sick for 2 and a half years, and we started taking him from one place to another until it was revealed to us in Oyo. I was a Nurse then, I was only taking him to the hospital, and we couldn’t diagnose anything, even Xray couldn’t tell us anything. But by the time we got to know it was already late. My husband laboured without reaping, his labour is what we are eating today. I missed him so much. We loved each other to the core. We are so fond of ourselves. We were always jealous of each other, I really missed him so much, but my children have always been there for me.