Dijatou (Khadijah) Aliyu, also known as Hadiza Gabon, was born on 1st June, 1989 at Libreville, the capital city of Gabon. She attended Ecol; de Francaise Gabonnaise in Gabon, where she bagged a diploma in French in 2006. Gabon as she is popularly called became one of the emerging talents of Kannywood, when she came to live in Nigeria with her elder sister. In a brief chat with AL-AMIN CIROMA, pretty Gabon, bares her mind on her acting ability and new discoveries in the thriving Hausa film industry. Excerpt.
How did you get into the Hausa film industry and why is your name Gabon?
They call me Hadiza Gabon, because I hail from the Republic of Gabon. I had all my education to diploma level in Gabon. When I came to live with my elder sister here in Nigeria, I developed the love for acting. Although, I have always loved acting long before I got into it. While in my country, I had the opportunity to watch a couple of Hausa films which inspired me. Fortunately for me I am now in the system.
I got the first breakthrough in 2008, when the famous Kannywood director, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq, featured me in the movie titled Artabu. I was invited to Jos alongside some movers and shakers of Kannywood.
How challenging was it acting Hausa movies, despite the fact that you are not a native speaker of the language?
(Laughter) There were so many challenges. Although, Hausa is widely spoken language across the continent, one would still need some special skills to reaching its root. I am Fulani by tribe, but I could understand and speak Puno, which is a major tribe in Gabon.
I speak French fluently, Hausa and English language too. But for Kannywood, I had to work very hard to speak the primary official dialect well enough. It was really tasking; I tried all I could to understand and speak Hausa fluently.
How did acting influence your lifestyle?
It influenced my life in so many ways. The entertainment industry celebrates art, which is nature’s gift. People are encouraged to showcase their talent and get to stardom. It caters for new innovations and originality. A star needs to work hard to remain relevant; otherwise, you will be shown the way out.
So, I would say the industry influenced my lifestyle positively, it kept me abreast with discovering my inner potentials and doing what is right at the right time. One is always engaged in rehearsals, discovering new innovations, digesting and delivering your lines among other activities.
The interesting thing about the movie industry is that everyone is busy perfecting their abilities. This applies to all stakeholders, not only actors. A makeup artiste would need to update on the available cosmetics and how to apply colours, mixing solutions for special makeup effect, etc. The costumier would also be working from pillar to post to make sure his designs are the best.
The script writer, on his own part would make sure that there are enough intrigues, suspense and meaningful dialogues to enrich his story line. Set designers, welfare personnel, estate managers, producers, directors, everybody all have a role to play.
There is no room for a lazy man in the entertainment industry. It is an industry where people truly earn what they work for.
What’s new in Kannywood?
I am overwhelmed by the current transformations, trends and development in Kannywood. It is becoming a new industry altogether, before now, there was a battle of supremacy between Nollywood and Kannywood, but the gap is gradually closing up. There are some aspects that I can authoritatively say, that the Hausa films are in the lead.
Considering the rate at which Nollywood films are buffing with erotic pictures, no matured man would like to watch with his family as they are not suitable for children. But if not for anything, the Hausa movie is modest; you can watch them comfortably with anybody. They are categorised by the censor’s board for general viewing.
Would it be apt to call you a Superstar?
(Laughter) ... an actor is a star, call him super, anything. Anybody who has the flair and courage to go on set and deliver his lines in accordance with the character defined by the producer is a super star.
Which movie brought you into limelight?
All my collections are blockbusters. I love all my films, but the major one so far is ‘babban zaure.’
Are you in a relationship with anyone in the industry?
(Laughter) This is uncalled for; I am into business, there is no time for me to go about building a relationship that may lead to nowhere. I don’t have a boyfriend in the industry and I am not intending to have one.
They are all my professional colleagues, so we relate like that as a family and nothing more than that. A serious artiste should always be mindful of his stardom because that is your prime asset.
You mean nobody has ever winked at you?
(Laughter) Mister Journalist, please stay out of this. I said nobody. (Laughter).
Would you marry an artiste?
I leave that to Allah, the Almighty. We always pray for the best in life. If I am destined to marry an actor, so be it.
Who is your role model in the industry?
My favourite actor is Aminu Ahlan Shariff (Momoh). I adore his style and acting skills. He is my hero.
Any message for your fans?
To all my fans out there, I love you. They should pray for me and my colleagues.