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AMAA 2017: Spotlight on the top supporting actresses from Nollywood

By Shaibu Husseini
24 June 2017   |   4:18 am
The ladies and home boys- Rita Dominic, Bimbo Akintola and Richard Mofe Damijo (Oloibiri), Ramsey Nouah (76) and Sambasa Nzeribe (Slow Country)- who were the only leading ladies and men from the Nigerian acting skies...


e ladies and home boys- Rita Dominic, Bimbo Akintola and Richard Mofe Damijo (Oloibiri), Ramsey Nouah (76) and Sambasa Nzeribe (Slow Country)- who were the only leading ladies and men from the Nigerian acting skies that featured on the nomination list of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), had taken their turns on this page.

It is now the turn of the supporting actresses- Taiwo Ajai Lycett, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama and Theresa Edem, who by reason of the mention they received at the nomination event of this year’s AMAA, held in Kigali, Rwanda last month, have been admitted into the unofficial class of the continent’s notable motion picture practitioners.

Veteran actress, Taiwo, was nominated for her inimitable performance in the epic movie, Oloibiri, while Somkele and Theresa got on the AMAA nomination for their effort in 93 Days and Ayamma, respectively.

When curtain opens on the 13th edition of the AMAA on July 15 in Lagos, these charming actresses would be battling for honour with top acting celebrities from other parts of the continent, such as Inna Moja (Wulu), Nmonde Mbusi (Vaya) and the Grammy award-winning singer, Angelique Kidjo (The CEO).

Also a category with a tough line up, industry analysts predict that any of these ladies from Nigeria look good to clinching the diadem that would undoubtedly mark a career peak for the winner.

So, who among these actresses would do Nollywood proud at the AMAA?

Theresa Edem- Ayamma
It didn’t come as a surprise to most observers that actress, voice-over artiste and model, Theresa Edem, got the AMAA 2017 nomination for her role in the epic movie production by Emem Isong’s Royal Arts Academy (RAA), Ayamma.

The delectable Theresa, who always wears a girlish smile, was believable as Princess Ama in that BOI-NOLLYFUND-sponsored production.

She played the devious Princess Ama, who would not allow the heir apparent, Prince Daraima (Wole Ojo), follow his heart in the well-helmed musical with the signature of Chris Eneaji. And she played the role with so much depth. No, Theresa was believable.

An Animal Science and Technology graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Theresa is very passionate about acting, and it shows from the way the Tinsel actress strives to make all the roles she has been given to play appear real and believable.

An alumnus of the RAA, from where she admitted, she was prepared for a career in acting, Theresa, star of movies, Take back your Throne, After the Proposal and The Antique, needs this AMAA crest to register her presence on the continental acting skies.

Taiwo Ajai Lycett- Oloibiri
An international actor, Taiwo Ajai Lycet (TAL) is on the AMAA slate of nominees for this year’s edition. Her performance in the movie on the Niger Delta struggle, Oloibiri, earned her the well-deserved nomination in the supporting actress category.

Analysts say whether the veteran actress gets the crest or not, it won’t reduce her status as a world-class actress.

They feel that she just needs the crest to affirm her status as the grandma of the continental silver screen.

A volunteer worker, social commentator and mentor to many, TAL had her early education in Lagos and was a Pupil Teacher before proceeding to the United Kingdom in 1960.

While there, the icon of the PAN- Africa stage and screen worked in several organisations, including the Young and Rubicam Advertising Agency. While at this, she combined working with further education.

A trained photojournalist, former Associate Editor of the London-based Africa Magazine and publisher of the defunct of Africa Woman, a political, economic and social magazine for Black and African men and women in the Diaspora, TAL revealed that she studied at “major nights schools” and at Pitman’s College, London before attending the Christine Shaw School of Beauty Science and Cosmetology, London; the North Staffordshire College of Technology (now Keele University) and graduated with the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business Studies in 1969 at the Hendon College of Technology.

A member of numerous professional organisations, including the Black Programming Consortium, United States and British Actors’ Equity and the National Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), TAL, who was in 2006 awarded the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), started her acting career at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre, Sloane’s Square, London, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

She disclosed that during this stage of her professional life, she combined acting on the UK stage, television and films with print and electronic journalism.

Recipient of numerous industry and society awards, such as the Heritage and Honours Award of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), TAL received the Lagos State Government’s Merit Award in recognition of meritorious service towards the advancement of education in the Alimoso Local Government Education District in 2005.

A broadcaster per excellence, TAL is also professionally trained in front and behind the camera, qualifying as a television producer and presenter at the London School of Television Production.

Back home in Nigeria, she found home on the live stage and on screen. Some of her stage appearances include, Song of a Goat by J P Clark; Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and The Lion and the Jewel; Wale Ogunyemi’s The Divorce; Fred Agbeyegbe’s The King Must Dance Naked; and lately, Hear Word.

Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama- 93 Days
It is her brilliant performance in the movie on Ebola, 93 Days, that earned emerging actress, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, a mention on the AMAA nomination list.

An actress of immense range, Somkele shone in 93 Days even though her role was a supporting role.

If she gets the AMAA crest for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, it would be double for her this year, a year that would end as a good one for the amazing actress.

It was Somkele that was the choice of the organisers of the African Magic Viewers Choice Award 2017 for the Trailblazer award.

And clearly, Somkele’s performance in three of the big movies (Arbitration, 93 Days and The Wedding Party) that were released last year made a way for her to grab this year’s Trailblazer award.

No doubt, Somkele has been having it good since she joined the industry a little over three years now.

The Agbor, Delta State native got the spotlight fixed on her after her beatific performance in those three of the big movies of Nollywood.

Indeed, her performance in those three quality Nigerian movies, which all made it to the City-to-City programme of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earned Somkele and the actor, OC Ukeje, an invitation to be part of the TIFF’s Rising Star Programme, which spotlights two up-and-coming actors from an industry in focus under the festivals City-to-City programme.