Stephen Anajemba, Nigerian actor, says he doesn’t take roles that will require him to kiss or go to bed with a woman on set.


The actor spoke of his humble beginnings and his eventual foray into Nollywood during an interview with BBC Igbo.

He also lamented that the perquisites from Nollywood movies have declined over the years, prompting him to ban his children from making a career out of acting as he did.

“I don’t act in all films, especially the ones with corruption scenes; I don’t kiss or go into bed with women on set. What’s different in Nollywood now is that it has been modernised with well-schooled actors,” Anajemba said.


“Films don’t pay well anymore. Those you see in Nollywood doing well have something else to earn them money. I asked my children to rule out acting as a career option. You can be popular without necessarily making money.

“Only those who are close to you will know you don’t have a penny. I told my kids I’d sponsor them to emigrate. They work there; bring the yields home. Both the males and females, I banned from Nollywood.

“Forget young actors who are inclined to show off wealth. People who don’t have up to N200,000 brag as though they’re millionaires. When it gets difficult, they go public to solicit funds. Forget all that; we’re all suffering.”


Anajemba: I served four employers without pay, pushed trucks until I found acting

Recalling his misfortunes, Anajemba, who is popularly called Uwaezuoke in tradition-oriented Nollywood films, said he underwent apprenticeship under four employers without pay before he finally moved to Akure in Ondo state.

He said he had started “pushing trucks” when a friend introduced him to a filmmaker who aided his acting foray.

“I came from a wretched family; I couldn’t fully acquire education. My dad died in 1970 and my misfortune began. I had to undergo apprenticeships (ịgba boy) before maturity; served four bosses. None paid me a penny,” he said.


“Out of anger, I left for Ondo state, Akure to push trucks. I called one of our relatives in Onitsha and asked him how he could comfortably live like a rich man while his blood brother, was living in penury.

“I would later realise I was serving the ex-apprentice of my former boss. Every morning, I would wash the bikes of my fellow (senior) apprentices before making my way to the market. And I was already married at the time.”

Speaking further, the 63-year-old actor noted that most of those who aided the onset of his career are now late.

“I was fooling around until one man called Ezeokoli asked me to accompany him somewhere. He took me to where Mike Orihedimma and his colleagues were doing (film) rehearsal. He asked them to explore my talents,” he added.


“Mike told me they had a show at City Palace. Oliver de Coque, Warrior, Bright Chimezie, Onukwu Odeku played. Mike explained to Okwuanyinonu and I what we were to do. I was to play a debtor while my partner comes for me.

“We acted; people threw money on me. Mike was pleased. He said I’d do better if trained. They made me register. That was when I started my acting career. What is painful is that most of those colleagues of ours are late.

“Mike died last. It’s painful he didn’t reap the yields of their efforts. He brought filmmaking to Igbo land.”


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