Ebele Okaro Onyiuke: In a class of her own
On the day she clocked 57, notable Nollywood actress Ebele Okaro Onyiuke took to her Instagram page to appreciate God’s grace upon her life and to request her friends, family, colleagues and fans to spare time to say a prayer for her.
“Just as puzzled as you are, God’s grace upon me is just too much. Thank you Lord for my new age. If you do care, say a prayer for me,” Ebele wrote.
Less than an hour after she made the post, the veteran actress who is in a class of her own, received tons and tons of messages from her colleagues, family and fans. By midday on Tuesday January 19, Ebele had received over 10,000 birthday wishes and the messages are still pouring in from home and abroad for the beloved actress who is unarguably one of Nollywood’s reliable character actresses.
Popular actress Sola Sobowale was one of those who showed up early on Ebele’s timeline and this was what she wrote: Happy birthday sweetheart. Wishing you all that your heart desires. Continue to age gracefully. Love you always.”
Nollywood actress Tana Adelana also showed up early and she wrote, “happy birthday mum. You are so beautiful, kind and loving. May God perfect all that concerns you now and always.”
For top actress and broadcaster Gloria Anozie Young, Ebele deserve to be celebrated for being an inspiration over the years.
“Over the years, you have been an inspiration, supportive and quick to celebrate others. I celebrate you especially on your birthday. May the universe align in your favour and may lines fall in pleasant places for you now and always,” Gloria wrote.
Also, notable Nollywood actress Anita Joseph, who described Ebele as a mother and a woman after her heart, left this best wishes on the timeline: “Happy birthday to a woman after my heart. Nneora (mother to all). Mummy, you have been wonderful to all that comes across you. You make working with you so easy especially when playing my mother. We have so much laughter. You are full of life mummy Ebele the great. I ask God on this day to grant you all that your heart has ever desired and favour you on all sides. Keep glowing mum and keep basking in greatness.”
Hailed as one of Nigeria’s finest and much sought after actresses, the focused, likeable and humble actress who is also reputed to be an acting auntie to a number of young actresses is rightly respected by her fans and colleagues for her consistency, versatility and her ability to interpret roles delightfully and believably. Observers say that her versatility and her ability to interprete roles with some attention to details is the reason why she has continued to stand out.
An old girl of Santa Maria primary school Enugu and Queen of the Rosary Secondary School in Nsukka, acting for Ebele who is married into the popular Onyiuke family, has been a matter of childhood past time, which has now and effortlessly too resulted into stardom.
Ebele cut her acting teeth in primary school, did some more acting in secondary school before she gained admission to the University of Calabar to study Education. But her passion for make believe resisted all attempt to make her not to train as a theatre artiste. To prove that her ‘passion was thicker than a mere wish,’ Ebele whom a critic once said ‘possesses a clinical acting finishing,’ eventually pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts.
A crusader for professionalism as attested to by her colleagues, Ebele upon graduation, served out her National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Lagos. That provided the platform for the second child in a family of six who was born in London, but brought up in Enugu, to do some more acting. In between, Ebele tried her hands on other things. She worked at an Embassy in Lagos and then a bank, which later went down.
She returned to acting again, this time on full time basis and since then, she has not looked elsewhere. Today, not only is Ebele popular, but she has warmed herself into the hearts of most movie goers and her rating card indicates that she is one of the most featured actresses on the home video scene.
An actress of vast credit who hinted that she has lost count of the number of movies she has featured in, Ebele has featured in some of the motion picture industry critically acclaimed television programmes and movies including Moving Fingers, Hostages, Third Eye, Eziza, Evil Thing, Egg of Life, Silent Scandals, Unbreakable, Three Wise Men, Black Rose, Road To Yesterday, Muna, Uloaku, Chetanna, Bambitious, Leave My Tears, The Prince and Me, What Lies Within, Days of Rage, Shallow Waters, Red Light, 30 Days and Living in Bondage (Breaking Free).
Asked to state her career ambition, Ebele who likes being happy and who is a fan of the Hollywood actress Whopi Goldberg, said her ambition is to continue to be involved in productions and also to mentor young people particularly young ladies who want to venture into the profession.
“I will like to be involved in productions, but I will act in my productions. I don’t want to stop acting, but I want to be able to combine it with producing and mentoring young people.”
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