Today (Wednesday, July 13), Nigerians celebrated veteran actress Zainab Bukky Ajayi as an 8th day fidau was held in her honour one week after she passed on at 82 in her Surulere (Lagos) home.
- Zainab Bukky Ajayi (originally a Christian named Patience Olubukola Ajayi) was born on February 2, 1934, into the prestigious Aka family of 21/22, Adams Street, Omididun, Lagos Island.
- She was born in Nigeria but completed her higher education in England, United Kingdom.
- She returned to Nigeria in 1965 where her career began as a presenter and newscaster for Nigerian Television Authority in 1966. She made her film debut in the television series Village Headmaster during the ’70s before she went on to feature in Checkmate, a Nigeria television series that aired during the late 1980s to the early1990s.
- During her acting career, she featured in several films and soaps including Critical Assignment, Diamond Ring, Witches Angels, among others.
- In 2016, her contribution to the Nigerian film industry was recognized after she and Sadiq Daba were awarded the Industry Merit Award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
- Ajayi has worked as an announcer, presenter and newscaster at the Niger Television Authority (NTA). She studied at the Stanislavsky Institute of Drama, London. For the late veteran actress, her love for the theatre was influenced by her father who took her to the cinemas as a young girl.
- Her interest for acting was so much that she used to do a cardboard sort of cinema for children, and charge half a penny to come and watch.
- Ajayi was on scholarship in London from the Federal government for six years. She later left the shores of England and came back to Nigeria after her education in 1965 and started out working in Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a presentation assistant in 1966, under the tutelage of Christopher Kolade. Her contemporaries include: Bode Alalade, Julie Coker, Bimbo Roberts.
- She moved on to become a presenter and then a newscaster while still with NTA. She presented a couple of children’s programmes and ‘Nigerian’s Sketches’, a Programme which was all about Nigerian culture. She was later transferred to Port Harcourt and back to Lagos where she started off her acting career.
- After her debut in Village Headmaster, and later Checkmate, she has featured in dozens of home videos and TV series.
- According to the late actress, shooting of international movie, “Critical Assignment” in South Africa, was one of the events of her life that she would never forget.
- On Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the fourth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, the veteran received an Industry Merit Award.
A standing ovation greeted the announcement of the 82-year-old actress, who was wheeled to the stage to receive her award which was to be her last public outing.
- With her vivacious personality, Bukky Ajayi will forever be missed in Nollywood. A devoted Muslim; She was actively involved in the activities of several Islam Organizations, prominent of among which is NASFAT.
- She was a grandmother of 8 and great grandmother of 5.
- Aunty Bukky also extended her philanthropic gestures to Muslims during Ramadan and participated in sponsoring Islamic programmes on Radio and Television. She also awarded prizes to young Muslims who participated in Islamic quiz competitions during the live programs known asEdide Ejisari for many years as her own little contributions towards the propagation of Islam.