Interview: “I Mopped And Cleaned Offices” – Sola Sobowale Speaks On Her Sacrifices And Absence From Nollywood Industry

Veteran Nollywood actress, Sola Sobowale in a recent interview tells it all about her personal life and eleven years break in the Nollywood industry.

OluSola Elizabeth Sobowale is a 56-year-old Nigerian film actress, screenwriter, film director and producer who hails from Ondo State.

Sobowale’s career acting career spans over four decades. she shot into the limelight when she played the role of Toyin Tomato in Wale Adenuga’s ‘Super Story’ series titled ‘Oh Father! Oh, Daughter’.

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However, before stardom, she was featured in classic series like The Village Headmaster and Mirror in the Sun. She also acted in a couple of stage productions like Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again by Ola Rotimi.

In her interview with media entrepreneur and lawyer, Chude Jideonwo, Sola Sobowale talked about how she left Nigeria to do menial jobs to cater for her children, who were schooling in universities in the United Kingdom.

The mother of five whose parents were academia (Her late father was a retired principal while her late mother was a retired headmistress) noted that she had the desire to give her children the best education. She said,

“Children did not ask to be born. When you decide to have children, you must be ready to take full responsibility for those children.

“They are beautiful creatures. You don’t bring them to this world to suffer. You don’t bring them to this world for anybody to take care of them. You brought them. Then stay with them and do the work.”

She said in her desire to give her kids the best education, she took them to the UK and left them alone. However, she noticed that they lacked care and motherly touch and decided to do the needful.

“I went back to England and noticed the kids lacked motherly touch. Then I moved to England and forgot stardom.

“Now, all of them are working and now they appreciate me for my sacrifice and ask me to go back to what I know how to do best, so that’s why I’m back in Nigeria.

“I was practically living in Enugu because I shot a movie, Christ In Me. After the movie, fame came. So I was given another job, to film one and come back, but eventually, I got over 10 movies so I was stationed at Enugu. And in one location I spent one week. In that one week, I was on N800,000 and that was in the year 2000.

“So like that, when I’m coming back to Lagos, I had over N5 million within how many months, the money was blowing.

“So I left that for 7 pounds per hour jobs in England. Then before I could make 1,000 pounds I have to work extra hard. There is nothing this woman cannot do because I know what dignity in labour is called. I will sweep anywhere so far it will put food on my table, cloth on my children, and shelter over my head.

“I swept, cooked, washed, mopped, cleaned offices. Yes, I did all those. The other thing is I wasn’t sleeping. On the train or bus, I made sure I wore my uniform with the name of the company like that.

“Then you hear Nigerians say ‘She isn’t the one’, ‘Sola Sobowale, no she isn’t the one’. I will then tell them it’s me, my name is Sola Sobowale, so they will ask what I’m doing here and I ask them the same question. I made a lot of friends. Now, I’m happy because it’s now history.”

She further said she wanted her children to attend one of the top varsities in Nigeria, but was discouraged due to the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). She said,

“Education is the only legacy you can give your children. So inside me, I said if my children want to go to university they will either go to the University of Ibadan, Ife, or Lagos, but unfortunately, they always strike. So a course of 3 years ends up to be 6 years”

“So I thought if I can pay this much for primary and secondary, I should be able to for university too. So let my children leave Nigeria, that was why I moved my children to London.”

Speaking about her career, she noted that she doesn’t usually watch herself however, she had to break that protocol during ‘King of Boys’.

“I don’t watch myself, but I had to watch myself during King of Boys.”

Sola Sobowale also said when she shot The Wedding Party, people asked Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, better known as Ali Baba who played the role of the bride’s father if nothing was between them. She also jokingly called out the name of Ali Baba’s wife while remaining on the shooting of the movie.

Taking a look into her educational background, Sola Sobowale opted out of a College of Education to follow her dream by going to Ibadan, then the hub of entertainment in Nigeria. She initially enrolled as a secretary in training at Sight & Sound, Ibadan.

However, Tunji Oyelana (Sura De Tailor), who married her older sister, Kikelomo, enrolled her in the University of Ibadan’s Department of Music. But she would later switch to Theatre Arts.

In 2016, she returned to Nigeria and she starred in Nollywood’s box office hit, ‘The Wedding Party’ and its sequel.

She also played the lead role in what Glamsquad tags as a satire ‘King of Boys’ and its follow-up series, ‘The Return of the King’.

In July 2022 she landed her first Bollywood role in director Hamisha Daryani Ahuja’s forthcoming film.

Catch a glimpse of the interview below…

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