She is widely known as a veteran actress but Patience Ozorkwo has seen it all; from being a radio presenter to waxing an album. Popularly known as Mama G, she tells OVWE MEDEME in this interview that her best days are yet to come. She also speaks on sundry issues, including her career, religion and a host of others.
HOW would you say your career has progressed over the years?
It has been quite progressive, you’ll agree with me. There’s always the days of humble beginnings. As God would have it, I gradually evolved to where I am today. It was hard, but I thank God for where we are today.
Would you love to share some of those tough times?
Tough times are meant for tough people. You don’t give up when the times are bad. That is when to show your prowess. With hard work, prayers and confidence in God, there is nothing you cannot surmount. It was all a struggle and part of the struggle was knowing what I wanted and going for it. When you find yourself in an industry like ours, if you are after money, it will come and go. If you are after relationship, you will get it; though it might collapse tomorrow. But if you want fame and you want to make a career for yourself, with hard work, it will be easy.
You were once a musician…
Yes, I was.
Why did you let that part of you go?
I had so many things to do, so many things to juggle. I don’t like doing people’s music, I like doing my own. So if I don’t have time to settle down and compose music, I don’t look that way. That was why I decided to let it lie.
Do you miss that aspect of the arts?
I do, because actually from childhood, I thought I was going to be a musician. I never knew I would be known more for acting. But I was doing both of them well.
Do you still intend to drop an album or maybe a single?
Yes, of course. I’m currently working on it.
How soon should we expect that from you?
I don’t know how soon. I’m getting old. But I will surely do it.
Why did you decide to be a part of this Unity Tour?
They chose me to be the unity ambassador because of my popularity. They chose me to be the torch bearer and I couldn’t refuse.
What was the attraction for you?
They said they want Nigeria to be one. So, what else should we be asking for? We should eschew bitterness, forgive each other, and then live as brothers and sisters. That’s what I preach too as a Christian; peace for all man.
These days, actors, especially the elderly ones, fall ill and start soliciting for funds…
Because our industry is not well founded. Although because of hard work, some of us have been able to get to where we are today. But I am glad that people in the industry have been overlooking a lot of problems they’ve encountered. They have been looked for a way to establish it so that we can have something to hand over to our children. Otherwise, we don’t receive help from people. It is like we struggle to make it.
Hope you are taking good care of yourself?
(Laughs) God is taking care of me.
Are you still as active as you used to be?
I’m still very active. The only thing is that the industry is actually bad. A lot of establishments are suffering and we are not left out. A lot of things have really gone bad. We are suffering, nobody is looking and nobody is helping us. So there is so much stress in the country and it is affecting us. Our market is bad, and then people are not buying movies. Of course, people will eat before they buy movies. It’s either that or they will wait until it gets to TV before they can watch.
But people still go to cinemas to see movies
How many people go to the cinemas? Yes, they do but I’m telling you the truth. It’s not easy. The money to produce is not even there. And then there is a level where they want to bring me down to, but I don’t allow that. That is why it seems a lot of us are not shooting like we used to. We are waiting for the stress to go down so we can begin to work as much as we used to.
You once said that you gave your life to Christ
I have always been a Christian but I had an encounter and God said that there are things I was doing as a Christian that he didn’t like. And he wanted me to go and preach it in the church so that others who are indulging in such things should also abstain so that we can please him in our ways. I’ve always been a Christian. I’ve been preaching, even in the industry.
Sometimes before we shoot, I preach to them. Sometimes, if they insist that we will shoot on Sunday, I conduct a little fellowship before we start. But the thing is that I may be doing things, thinking I’m pleasing you, and I’m not. That is it.
People perceive you as a wicked mother-in-law. How much of that is really in you?
(Laughs) I’m used to the question. I’m just acting, I’m just telling a story. And they find that I do it very well. It is a very difficult part of acting because I have to be shouting and screaming, running my lines and still maintain the tempo. Not everybody can do it. So, it is quite unlike me.
So you’re not a wicked mother-in-law?
By God’s grace, I don’t think I’m wicked.