Popular Nigerian actor, Damola Olatunji who is well celebrated in the Yoruba movie industry has disclosed that his mother was a disciplinarian who kept records of his misdeeds as a child and helped shaped him into the man he is today.
Olatunji revealed this in an interview with Sunday Sun.
What’s your mum’s name?
Her name is Prophetess Ajibola Anike Olatunji, JP.
What was it like growing up with a prophetess?
Well, it’s been fun and a blessing to me, because it’s like growing where you have the fear of God. You see the teachings my mum gave me were like a check to me when I got to the outside world. When you are faced with challenges, it helps you make decisions and you are well cautioned. My mum taught me to always remember the son of whom I am and so I am always super conscious of how I behave in public.
Has she always been a prophetess?
No, she made the decision when she heard a call.
So, what does she do?
She was a fashion designer.
While growing up, were you stubborn or well behaved?
Well, I can say that I was a little bit stubborn and I did love adventure. I’m a bit inquisitive; I’d love to know why something is the way it is. I don’t just take yes or no for an answer. I keep asking questions.
What was her means of curbing your adventures?
Let me give you a scenario of what actually happened then. My dad was a civil servant and sometimes due to the nature of his job, he was always away for like a week and came back during the weekend. However, during the week, when my dad was not around, she kept a record of all our wrong doings. Immediately we heard his car horn on Friday when he returned, we begged our mum, because she would bring out your book and tell him that on this day, with date, and time, this was what you did.
However, because we knew our dad loved listening to network news, we would go and sleep much earlier, because if we waited till after the news, we were in trouble. He would ask us questions about what we did while he was away and before a twinkle of an eye, the cane was out. So, when he was around, I slept earlier, because I might escape punishment. But Saturday morning, you might not scale through except if there were guests who can plead on your behalf, but the moment you sat down in the sitting room watching TV, dad would ask you the meaning of words that came up during the programme and if you stammered you were in big trouble. My mum was very strict but later on, we realized that she wasn’t that strict; she just wanted to put us right.
Were you more afraid of your mum?
I was afraid of both them. Although, dad always came home at weekends, he would not spare you. That doesn’t mean mum will not beat you, she will beat you for everything you did wrong but you should know definitely that you had another one coming ahead. One thing I observed from both of them is that they will never disagree if one is wrong or right. If one said you were wrong, then you were wrong on both sides and if one said you are right, you were on both sides.
What was the biggest lie you ever told your mum?
Funny thing is if I lied to my mum, she had a way of knowing very well. The moment she knew I was lying, she just kept quiet. She has this sense. So, we were always super conscious of lying to her because the moment you start lying, she knows. She had this way of communicating with you even when you were far away. Even when you were lying to her, she can read you.
So, you have never lied to her?
Normally, every kid lies to his or her parents. I could remember when we were younger and every other kid played football. My mum did not like us going far away. She would always tell us stories of how a boy went to play football and broke his leg and “…now he’s unconscious” and she warned that when it happens, that’s the end of schooling. Okay, I can remember one. There was this family friend of ours, he was into football and used to coach other kids then. I think my brother joined and brought the ball home. I was playing with my brother and the ball bursted. The guy was always threatening us that he wanted compensation for the lost ball. So, my brother and I started saving our food money to pay the guy. I think the money was N12 then. Then mum became suspicious. Our food money was probably 50 kobo or N1. Then at a point, we gave the guy N6 and said we were tired. At a point, the guy started coming to our house and even threatened to tell our mother after collecting the N6, and I could remember that there was this Saturday he came and dad was around, and we said it was our neighbor’s son. In the long run, the moment she heard about it, everything got sorted out.
When you became a teenager, what did she tell you about girls?
I couldn’t tell my mum I had a girlfriend then, because to her, I was still a minor. Even till date, she still sees me as a small child. She always warned us to be careful of girls that they can destroy someone’s destiny. She warned us sternly that if any of us impregnated any, we would have to stop schooling for the child to be raised.
Did she ever catch you with a girl?
No, the only thing I know was that I used to have more of female friends even right from my secondary school days. Then, many of the girls greeted her at her shop and asked of me. When I returned from school, I went to the shop and most of the times with my female friends and she was always like I had to be very careful. She understood there were no strings attached; we were just friends.
So, what’s the best advice she has given you that you cherish?
When I told her that I wanted to start acting, she was scared, because she had this idea that as an actor, I’ll be wayward.
I started acting as a graduate. I graduated in 2007. I am an engineer and dad always said, “…there is a difference between potentials and credentials”. So, when I resolved to follow my potential, she was not really against it. She was like, okay fine, if that’s what you want to do. I had been acting from church, I was into drama and she wasn’t even surprised and was like “…the only thing is that you promise me one thing, you love God and you will not live your life like every other actor” and those words are so golden because there is this belief that actors don’t have steady relationships. It’s often believed that, they’re wayward. But I promised her that I would still be that same Damola she knows.
How is your relationship with her now that she is older?
Is she a grandmother now?
How is she like with her grand kids?
Our kids always talk about their grandma and during that moment that means, they are missing her already. Sometimes she tours around everywhere, my brothers’ place, my sisters’ place and might be there for weeks. She travels around coupled with the fact that she has her ministry. She is a very busy person and the only time she relaxes is when she visits us.
What makes her unhappy?
The only thing that makes her unhappy is when she calls on a Sunday morning and you say you are not in church. She is not always happy. I could remember telling her I was on set on a particular Sunday and suddenly she went cold.
So, what makes her happy?
When she calls you by 9 pm and she can hear you having your night devotion and all that. She has that attitude of wanting to make sure that you are still closer to your God.
So, when last did you see her?
I saw her two days ago.