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Spotlight on Kannywood’s Teema Yola



like the English language movie divide of the Nigerian movie industry, dubbed Nollywood, Kannywood, which is the name used to describe the movie industry in northern Nigeria, boasts of a number of emerging actresses who have become household names.

List five of some of the emerging actresses and the delectable actress, Fatima Isah Muhamad, who is popular among friends and movie fans as Teema Yola, would make the cut.

Pretty and unpretentiously friendly, Teema is best known for living delightfully, the role of ‘Hajiya Laure’ in the critically-acclaimed Kannywood movie, Mansoor, by star actor, Ali Nuhu. The delightful and believable manner Teema interpreted the role won her so many fans and shot her into the limelight. Today, the Adamawa State native, who is on a plum side, has emerged as one of the popular actresses in Kannywood.


Star of another Kannywood hit movie, Gida Uku, Teema, who was once married, but now divorced, has always wanted to be an actress. She was exposed to a lot of Indian, Chinese and early Kannywood movies whilst growing up in Yola.

She revealled that the more she watched those films, the more she yearned for an opportunity to feature in a movie. That opportunity came during a chance meeting with notable screenwriter, Abdulkareem Paparaje, who Teema said introduced her to a couple of producers and directors, who invited her for auditions.

“I attended the auditions, as they invited me, and each time I did, I always got a role, because they found that I have the talent,” she said.

Described by colleagues as humble and diligent, Teema is lavish with thanks to Paparaje and to Nuhu for believing in her talent, saying the gains of being an actress far outweigh some of the pains.

She particularly spoke glowingly about Nuhu, who directed the movie that gave her a break and got more producers and directors routing for her. “I would like to thank Nuhu especially for believing in me and for considering me suitable to play the role of ‘Hajiya Laure.’ He guided me to bring out the best in me and I am most grateful.

“To be honest, I feel great playing the role and I am grateful to Allah because the movie created a good name for me and showcased my ability to act. Even though I have been around for a while, people were asking about who this actress is immediately after the premiere of the movie. I even had to sneak out of the venue, because fans swarmed on me. They wanted to see more of the antics of the character I played.

“I recalled how I shed tears of joy at the sight of people waiting to see me and to talk to me. It was a good feeling that I will not forget in a hurry,” she reminisced.


But Teema’s journey to this point where she is roundly hailed didn’t come easy. The actress, whose favourite colours are blue and yellow, explained that being an actress has opened so many opportunities for her, adding that she was taken through a number of endurance tests to get to this point in her career.

“I worked myself out. I attended several auditions, got roles where I acted and I was not paid. To date, I am being owed for some jobs that I have done.

“I remember working on a set and in the process, I got stung by a scorpion and what was harrowing for me was that at the end of the day, the producer of the movie refused to pay me. Sometimes when I tell colleagues, they will laugh and tell me that I am paying my dues.

“I know that in all professions, one has to pay his/her dues one way or the other, but it is so many dues to pay if you have to do so much work and you are not paid.

“But I thank Allah that the situation has changed. Some of those producers that refused to pay me are now paying and even doing so in advance. In fact, there was one who paid me before he sent the script to me. It is good to be patient,” she enthused.

Teema’s ambition is to get to the top of her career as an actress, while her dream “is to get married and settle down.” She assured that she would not leave the industry even when she gets married. But asked if she wouldn’t bow to pressure if asked to quit by her husband-to-be, Teema smile broadly and responded: “Oh, well, if that time comes and I have to quit, I will accept to quit acting, but I will remain in the industry as a producer. I would love to produce films.

“Let me not just conclude, because everything depends on my husband. But I am not sure he would want me to be a full-time housewife; I think he would like me to do what gives me joy and happiness. But if he insists, I will have no choice. That is the truth. But for now, I am totally in love with the movie industry.”


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