Funke Kate Adepegba: A life dedicated to silver screen
It was the blogger and content producer, Precious Ezek, who turned the spotlight recently on the veteran actress of The New Village Headmaster fame, Funke Kate Adepegba.
Precious had on his Facebook page and Instagram handle splashed pictures of a Mercedes ML car, which he said the actress took delivery of, a few days back.
For Precious, the ‘photo party’ he called on Facebook was not really about the car that Kate bought, after so many years of ‘toiling and saving,’ but according to him, it was about celebrating Kate’s consistency, hardwork and dedication, which has unarguably retained a place for her in the artistic scheme of things and in life, generally.
In fact, Precious had revealed that Kate practically spoke the car into existence a few years ago. Even Kate alluded to that when she surmised that she “is a proud owner of the manifestation of the spoken word.”
She added: “I appreciate God for making my verbal proclamation over this car come to pass.
“I wish to enjoin majority of my colleagues, especially the younger ones, to imbibe in themselves, tenets of hardwork, long-suffering and goodwill.”
An actress of long standing, who is totally committed to the arts, Kate’s journey did not start with movies; it started on stage and then during the good old days of television.
Many still recall how she spiced up all the episodes of that longest running television drama, The New Village Headmaster, she featured in.
Kate it was, who lived delightfully the role of Folake, one of dutiful girls that served as apprentice in Sis Clara’s shop as long as it ran on television.
Even Kate agreed that it was her role in that Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) drama that brought her fame and opened doors for other acting opportunities.
Described by close friends as humble, friendly and God-fearing, Kate had her early education in Lagos and worked briefly with the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) before she joined the cast of The New Village Headmaster in 1983.
Prior to that, she did some acting on television and was a regular cast member of the long rested NTA Channel 10 drama programme, The Arm Chair Theatre and was a valuable member of the literary and dramatic clubs of all the early schools she attended.
But it was Chief Funs Adele, who played the role of Eleyinmi on The New Village Headmaster that provided the referral with which she was given a role in the cast.
Kate and the late actor lived in the same neighbourhood and when the producer of the television drama, Dejumo Lewis, wanted some talents to serve as interns in Sisi Clara’s sewing Institute, Adeolu didn’t hesitate to recommend Kate to him.
Kate was auditioned, and pronto, she was given the role of Folake to live for as long as the television drama lasted. Just a few appearances and other producers came calling.
“I was on the cast of The New Village Headmaster from 1983 to 1988. While at that, I also found time to feature in some other television drama programmes, like Mirror in The Sun and then Turning Wheels.
“Television was where to go then. We didn’t have much of home video productions then. You were either on stage or on television or on celluloid film, which was becoming less popular then because of the state of the economy.
“So, I was very much on television,” she reminisced.
But the rhythm stopped for Kate, albeit temporarily, in 1988 when she travelled to London for further
studies in Business Communication at the London Academy of Administration Studies.
The actress, whose earlier career ambition was to become a linguist, returned to motherland in 1992 and hopped back on the acting turf again.
Her return coincided with the launch of Checkmate, that Amaka Igwe’s groundbreaking soap on television. She secured a role on the soap on merit and went ahead to work with the late producer when she was ready to produce Violated.
Later, she found a role in the then wave-making soap, Palace, and when the home video industry bubbled, some producers found her as a good centre on which they hung some of their movie stories on.
Unlike some of her peers who had to contend with parents that felt acting was not a profession, Kate revealed that her parents gave her all the encouragement she required.
“My parents were very wonderful and supportive. In fact, they encouraged me and always prayed for me.
“I wanted to be an interpreter and had gone ahead to study French, but I gave up that dream when I lost my dad. It was difficult to continue with studies or to pursue that dream further.
“So, part of the reason I took to acting was to earn some money, so as to support my mum, who had all of us to take care of.
“In fact, my decision to travel abroad for further studies was also informed by the fact that I needed to do something substantial, so as to support my mum,” she said.
Star of one of the earlier episodes of the popular Super Story series, Jealous Heart, starring Jide Kosoko and Emma Ayologu, and a regular feature in Tales of Eve and in the second season of Ebony Live Tv’s Dowry, Kate has featured in a couple of television drama programmes and movies, including Kunle Afolayan’s Figurine and the Yoruba movie, Kondo Olopa.
She revealed that she has received so many offers to feature in movies and has taken part in some that are at various stages of post-production.
“I am open to working with anyone, but the script has to be right,” she said.
Described as a stickler for perfection and a very principled lady, it is difficult to get Kate to discuss her relationship in the open, as she insisted it is a private affair and should be left as that.
But she gladly tells anyone that her son, whom she had while in early school, is now a big boy.
Asked to state her career ambition, Kate said it is to continue to glide on the silver screen and to continue to be useful to society and humanity.