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How I Fell In Love With MOJI AFOLAYAN & Married Her

•Popular YORUBA Actor, OJOPAGOGO, Tells City People

He is very popular in the Yoruba movie industry for playing elderly roles. In most movies he featured, if not all, he usually plays a role of an elderly man with grey hair and he has a peculiar walking way of a decrepit old man who is in his 80s, but Rasaq Olayiwola is a young man, who started acting at an early age.

A few months back, City People Magazine’s Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, spoke with him about his career.

Many don’t know he is just 53. He cuts a picture of an aged man. He started his Theatre career in 1983, when he was in Form 3 in Iseyin, Oyo State. He attended AUD Primary School Ebedi in Iseyin. He wanted to proceed to a Modern School, “He sat for the modern school exams. The result was used to post candidates to the various secondary schools around. 

He was posted to Otu Community Grammar School then. But when his parents began to hear unpleasant stories about him that he was playful and too tough to handle, they decided to monitor him. They worked his transfer to Anwaru Islam High School in Iseyin. He finished his secondary there. Below are excerpts of the interview.

Is it true you studied music at Polytechnic Ibadan?

Yes. When I started my Arts Theatre career, I realised that one needs to read more. I sponsored myself to the Polytechnic Ibadan. My kids were in secondary school then. I was married then. I studied Music Technology then at Ibadan Poly. I planned to do more.

You are married to someone in the industry. How did you marry her?

Yes. You are right. I was once married before this. She too was in the theatre world. She has children for me. Her name is Funmilayo Akanke Omo Chief J.A. Inawole from Oro-Ago in Kwara State. She died. May God bless her soul.

She died in year 2000. It was a painful loss. I felt really bad. I went through a lot at that time. I didn’t want to marry again. But when I realised that women were beginning to put me under pressure. I didn’t want to start having kids all over the place.

There were so many people wishing to fill the space of her. I decided to look for a wife. I met Moji Afolayan, the daughter of the late Ade Love. That was how we started dating. We met in 2003. We had our wedding in 2005.

How have you been coping with both of you belonging to the acting world?

Once God says yes, it will work out. Once God has blessed your union it will survive. At first, we both used to work together. We didn’t have kids then. With time, I started having children. We began to plan how to work things out. We have relations living with us.

We have househelps. So they help take care of our kids whenever we are going to location. My kids themselves have older ones, like brothers and sisters who I had before marrying Moji. The kids themselves have become grown ups. They can stay on their own.

You have been acting for many years now. How did it start?

I started acting on stage from Iseyin, many years ago. But I am from Oyo town. I was born in Iseyin. I grew up there. When I got to Ibadan, I joined a group called Alao Sorunke. Earlier, I was a member of a group in Iseyin. The name of the group I left in Iseyin was called Ilumokin Theatre Group. The leader was Jelili Raji Aboderin. He is the Baale of Larinka (Ifakeu) in Ibadan. He is one of the Board Members of Trado Medical Association.

When I got to Ibadan, some people discovered me; that one boy had just come to Ibadan who was acting with Alao at Idikan then. That was Labake Theatre Group. I went to act with the group.

At that time, they were about to go to Oyo to act for Alaafin. I acted Eru Oba. While acting somebody began to shout Omo Ojopasekere and he started hailing me. Another person shouted him down. Shut up Ojo Pa Sekere Ko, Oja Pa Gogo ni. It was funny to Baba Alaafin then. 

He then gave me money. Since then, people who travelled with us then began to call me Ojopagogo. That was in 1986. I didn’t first use that name on stage; people just used to call me that as an alias. Later, theatre people began to use it on stage. That was how I got the name.

How did you start acting?

I started arts theatre from the Koranic School (Ile-Kewu). The school was owned by my brother. It was run in the same house we lived. We wanted to celebrate Malud Nabib. They said we should organise drama then. We did. Then in primary school, I used to participate in entertainment and cultural display. When we did the Koranic school play, many people attended. The man I mentioned, Jelili Raji Aboderin of Ilumokin Theatre was a friend to my brother so, he came also.

When we finished the play, he called me and asked if I could act with him that he had a play he was working on. That he needed a small boy like me to act in it. That was in 1983. I agreed. I went to location. They auditioned me. That was how I started. That was how we did rehearsals and travelled with the play all over the schools in Iseyin.

That was how I became popular. As I walked on the street, people would be hailing me, Adekunle Omo Adeoye.

All the theatre producers and directors wanted me to act with them in their stage-plays. Things now changed positively for me. Oga Alao lives in Ibadan.

He used to tour and travel all over. Oke Ogun and other neighbouring towns and villages. On an occasion, a member of cast disappointed him in one play in Iseyin. That was how they called on me from school that I need to take over and play that role.

So, I went to join them and I now saw that they were more professional, then my main group. They also appreciated me more than the group I was acting with. That Oga now began to take care of me. He began to take care of me. At a point, he now sat me down. He asked me what work I want to do when I grow up.

When he came for the 2 stage a plays, I was already in Form 5. I was preparing to sit for my WAEC exam then. I told him that I was thinking of going to do Law. He now advised me that it seems I am good in acting, which I should keep to Theatre Line. 

He said I had the gift for acting but that he will encourage me to read my books and get educated. I said okay, should I follow him after my school cert. He said No, No, No. He said I should read more. I said no problem.

But the man I was in his group in Iseyin said he was going on tour, that we should go together that once we start off this particular play we would leave Iseyin for good.

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