Joke Silva is one of the amazons of the Nigerian motion picture. She is an actress every producer loves to have on his/her set because of her immense talent and experience. She was part of the casts of ‘Battleground’ series which hit 100th episode. The role model and wife of Olu Jacobs took time out to speak to journalists about her equally celebrity hubby, celebrity marriages and domestic violence. SAMUEL ABULUDE was there.
Was acting what you set out in life to do right from onset?
Oh yes I knew from about the age of 10 and my parents supported me from the schools that I went to. After my A level, I prayed I asked God for confirmation and he said yes and I spoke to my father and he said take a gap for a year and see if this industry is your thing and as at that time I’m talking of like late 70s and early 80s which wasn’t common in our time and they allowed me to do it. When they found out that this was what I wanted to do and enjoyed doing, they said okay go to drama school.
Where your parents not bothered then as what most parents wanted for their kids was to be engineers, doctors and accountants?
I think what bothered them was the concern that would I be able to make a living out of this profession I was going into. They knew the talent was there. They nurtured the talents, they encouraged the talent but I think the idea was to encourage the talent to be a hobby. My mother played the piano as a hobby so it was something like that for them, they wanted to see how stressful the industry could be, how uncertain, in the sense that you don’t always have work all the time but unfortunately for them in my gap year, I was working right through. Sometimes I had like three jobs at the same time so I was working so often and they saw that I loved it.
You are one of the very few celebrities whose marriage has stood the test of time but nowadays we hear a lot of breakup among celebrities; does that not bother you?
Not particularly, but I think people should know what their treshold of acceptability is. I think sometimes in this society we tend to say you must stay in marriage no matter what it does to you. You hear some women who have stayed with their husband right throughout the difficult times and when their husband dies they are so bitter because it seem that they wasted their life. This is something that the younger generations don’t know.
That being said, I think there is need for both sides to see each other as human being. In this society our boys are raised from when they are babies that ‘oma s’awon obirin lese’ ( he will deal with women in Yoruba) and they tell the woman, ‘wa se obe yen’ (you will cook the soup) and all of a sudden you now say this man should become responsible, should be able to take a leadership position where he is a servant leader, how? He was never brought up to be that, he was brought up to be the ‘king of kings and lord of lords’. So it’s a mindset and its difficult but it is something we have to do and that is why we are seeing what we are seeing. I remember I had a conversation with someone where I said ‘oh wow this house is beautiful well done to you and your wife but the man said what did she contribute?
I build the house and I said sweetie, the fact that she was not asking you for the money and she was making sure that it is possible for you to build the house even if she didn’t give you a dime towards the house her support for you building the house is her share.’ Do you understand? But we were not brought up to think like that and so you will find out that a lot of mothers will tell you that when you are building your house, if it is only the roof, if its only a few tiles that you can buy, you must buy it so that you can have a claim but it shouldn’t be like that.
Do you have a pet name for your husband?
Oh yes his name is Omoboy (laughter)
Are there moments that it becomes heavy to call him Omoboy because you are angry or you are having issues?
When Omoboy becomes Olu, that’s wahala (laughs) and same with me, my pet name is Iya but when he says Joke I know I’m in trouble.
What are your thoughts on domestic violence?
I think I’m very happy that more women are coming out and talking about it. The partners must give themselves space once the violent start. I think it is the most spirit destroying action that one can take. It is sad when relationships get to that point.
Can a woman really provoke a man to beat her?
I think in relationships especially when we are angry with each other, I think it gets to that point when you understand that you should withdraw. When I counsel young people, I tell them that there is a tone that you recognize that if I push any further I will be in trouble. When you hear that you will hold, you will see it, it’s in the eyes you can’t hide it. There is something I also what to mention that there is a violence that people don’t associate with domestic violence and that is emotional violence, emotional violence is a violence that is so deadly, you don’t see it, it damages the person psychologically and I think the onus is on those who love the person to let them be aware of it and see marriage is not do or die, it’s not.
What is that meal that your husband cannot do without?
I like that question but you should ask him (laughs).