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Nollywood actress Patience Ozokwor

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Patience Ozokwor, popularly known as Mama G, was born on March 28, 1958 in Amaobo in Ngwo, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. 

She attended Abimbola Gibson Memorial School, Lagos, and Methodist Girls, Yaba, but had to relocate to Enugu due to the civil war. She got admitted to Girls Secondary School, Ngwo. Later on, she attended the Teachers Training College in Afikpo where she had her first ever performance, she played the role of Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. From where she proceeded to IMT Enugu where she studied Fine and Applied Arts, specialising in Graphics. She never had the intention of joining the film industry. She was a teacher by training and taught for about four years before venturing into broadcasting. She was employed as an announcer with FRCN Enugu and was later retrenched when they closed down all the medium wave band stations. 

During her teacher training days in Afikpo, she had a competent literature teacher who made them present a play each term. When it was the turn of her set to present a play, she was given the role of Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play of the same title and the production came out fine. Other schools that offered Hamlet as a subject paid to watch their production. In fact, they were invited to stage the play in so many other places in Southeastern Nigeria. She was very popular then and everywhere she went people called her Hamlet. 

 

The actress, who got married at 19, lost her husband very early in life. As a result of her husband’s death, she concentrated on her family and in order to earn money, she baked cakes and took on odd jobs. This was a difficult period in her life as she struggled to maintain her family and household finances. Eventually, she was invited to do a commercial by a comedian who was impressed with her acting skills. Thereafter, she was asked to do a soap opera about rural women for the National Television Authority.

At Radio Nigeria, Chika Okpala (Chief Zebrudaya of New Masquerades) invited her to take part in a commercial in which she played the wife of Pete Eneh. The commercial was a mass orientation promo by the Anambra State government to encourage citizens to acquire education before venturing into trading.

So successful was Patience in her career in radio drama that she decided to give back to the society. She opened a school to help young female school dropouts and taught them how to make hair and skin care. She was able to help these young ladies open their own businesses. It was only a natural progression that her civic involvement would lead to a political appointment. She was subsequently appointed an aide to the wife of the mayor of the local government. She served in this political post for four years.

After the promo was shot, there was a positive reaction from the people and Chief Zebrudaya was so impressed that he said, ‘what have you been doing with yourself, where are you, I am so impressed.’ When Pete Eneh had the opportunity of shooting a serial (Someone Cares) for a television station, he gave her the lead role.

Mama G joined the movie industry and did her first movie Ukwa in 1995. By 1999, she had become hugely popular with the movie, Authority. Since then, she has featured in over 200 movies. So successful was her role as Mother General, Mama G, in Old School that the public began referring to her as Mama G and thus gave birth to her stage name. Patience has acted in many movies with actors and actresses such as Ini Edo, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Rita Dominic, Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, Ramsey Nouah, Van Vicker, Mike Ezuruonye Oge Okoye, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Chioma Chukwuka and many others. She has appeared in more than 200 films some of which areAuthority, Sins of the Father, Apology, Submission, One Dollar, Chicken Magic, Pride of a Woman, Women in Power, Woman of Authority, Mother-in-Law, Christian Mother, Christian Marriage.

When asked about her bad roles, Patience said, “When I play the role of a bad woman, I see myself as a mirror through which I want the society to see and appreciate the fact that it is not good to be bad. This is the reason I do it with so much passion that it becomes almost believable and by extension, I also see such roles as an opportunity to minister to lost and wicked souls that jealousy, hatred, envy and all the likes can only bring one to ruins.’’

 According to the versatile actress said, “Surprisingly, I am very lazy at reading scripts over and over again. As soon as a script is given to me, I get into the character as soon as I read a few lines from any scene in the script and to tell you the truth, it baffles even me that I can perform such near magical acts. I give all the glory to God because I think it is part of the special gift he has deposited in me. A few glances at the script easily exposes me to my character and once I discover this, I would proceed to getting the lines into my head and of course, adding some other things that would make my role stand out. The way I memorize lines baffles me and once I get the lines in, it takes a long time for me to forget them.’’

The actress was honoured at the centenary celebration with the internationally acclaimed artists, literary icons award. She won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 10th Africa Movie Academy Awards and also beat other frontline actresses to win at the Ghana Movie Awards for Best African collaboration–best actress with her performance in the movie, slave boy. At the fifth edition of the City People Entertainment Awards, Mama G won the Best Actress of the year (English). At the 2014 GIAMA awards, the actress was nominated in the best comedic act in the movie, After the proposal.

Patience Ozokwor is a widow with four children, three biological and one adopted. Her first son is an engineer while the last is a footballer with Rangers International of Enugu.

Read 2227 times Last modified on Sunday, 13 September 2015 18:13