Patience Ozokwor is one of the iconic figures of Nollywood
That Patience Ozokwor
rose to the zenith of her acting career is not an accident. She sees herself as
someone with truckloads of patience and determination, a combination she believes
is paramount for any person seeking leverage in life's quest at getting better.
Her journey in the showbiz has a lot to do with family incidentally.
"I have always had flair for
entertainment business. I like entertainment, and even when I was in school,
people would always want to be around me because I could do things that really
made them laugh. I was seeing it as making people laugh, but that was
entertainment. I am lucky to have come from a zone of artistes. The late
Francis Agu is from my family, and I used to watch him in Checkmate and all
In spite of the array of artistes who are related to her, it took the intervention of New Masquerade actor, Chika Okpala aka (Zebrudaya) to avail her breakthrough in the world of acting. This she said happened when it seemed her world had collapsed.
"I really went through a lot, but
today I can just look at what is going on around me and thank God. I went
through a lot of suffering with my husband. At a point, he became terminally
ill, and by then I had lost my job at Enugu State Broadcasting Service, for
reasons I cannot explain. It was really sad, because I was enjoying my job on
radio, and suddenly it ended. And all the efforts I made to get back my job
just proved abortive."
While nursing the heartbreak of her job
loss, Patience was also to be confronted with the stark reality that her
husband's health had dropped irretrievably. "The height of it all was my
husband's health. It was so bad at the time that I could not buy him the drugs
he required. It was even a tug of war to eat, because I had no job. I had no
money, and then I would sit and weep, because it seemed as if my world was
However luck was lurking around the
corner, as Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya), who is well-connected in the Eastern
showbiz circles, brokered a deal for her to feature in bread commercial.
"That was the starting point. Chika Okpala got me a job to feature in a bread commercial, and you would laugh if I tell you how much I was paid, but I really needed the money, because my husband was dying, and the kids were hungry. At the end of that commercial which I did with Pete Eneh, he told me I could fit into the home video business in
After a couple of auditions, Patience got a string of minor roles that would get her noticed, but that did not mean that the journey had been smoothened in any way. One issue that almost weighed her down about the industry then was debts.
"Then producers owed a lot. People
would trek from their houses to the place and after work they would be paying
you in bits. It was not easy but God had designed His wishes for me. With time,
I became popular, and roles started coming left and right."
Does that mean she is good? A down to earth Patience would just attribute it to the way it was designed to happen.
"I may not be the best or the
smartest or the most intelligent, but a lot of factors come into play to make
me the Patience that I am in the movie industry. It is a combination of several
Rightly put, it is a combination of several virtues in appropriate proportions, which was not surprising that her role as Mama G in the movie Old School, would redefine her potentials in the industry.
What does Patience Ozokwor have in
common with the series of wicked roles that often come her way? "People
think that is how I am in real life. It happens to a lot of artistes as well.
But it is not always the case. I am a down to earth person. I am unassuming; I
do not hide it when someone offends me. I am not the type that pretends, people
who know me will tell you that I bare my mind when I have to. The roles I have
played do not portray me in any way. If people talk about it that means that I
am doing it well."
With a fan base which extends far beyond the shores of the country, her electrifying performances have brought her cult follower-ship amongst Nigerians in Europe and
"When I go for shows abroad, I
almost shed tears because of the way they treat me. It is as if they see you as
a part of their lives. I found it difficult returning with all the gifts I got
the first time I traveled to
Patience Ozokwor acknowledges that one of the most challenging issues in her job is coping with the hordes of male admirers indeed.
"They come. And they come in different
shades. Some even beg me to marry them and I wonder if they even realize the
fact that my son played for Flying Eagles. It is good. What will I say? I cope
with male admirers; I try to let the person know that we have gotten to the
limit of that fan thing. I do it without trying to upset the system."
Having over-stepped the hiccups of being a widow, it is clear that Patience who veered into music some months back is set to conquer the entire world of showbiz. But time will tell.
Additional feeds from National Mirror, Nigeria