– As colleagues, others eulogize late thespian
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, the 8th day fidau (prayer) was held in honour of veteran actress and one of the foremost female broadcasters, Alhaja Zainab Bukola Ajayi, simply addressed as Bukky Ajayi, by her family, friends and Muslim community.
Spearheaded by Nasrul-Lahi-Fatih (NASFAT) Society, which the late thespian was part of till she breathed her last on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in her Surulere, Lagos home.
The well packaged event was officiated by the Chief Missioner of NASFAT, Alhaji Abdullahi Akinbode and was attended by Muslim faithful from different parts of Lagos State and beyond.
Among the dignitaries at the occasion were Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Jide Kosoko, Jimoh Aliu, Yinka Quadri, Dele Odule, Ayo Badmus, Saidi Balogun, Kola Olaiya, Bukky Wright, Shola Shobowale, Sola Kosoko, Tade Ogidan, Tunji Bamishigbin, Keyi Yussuf and other.
The heart touching lecture was delivered by Dr. Misbaudeen Junaid from University of Lagos, while closing remarks were given by NASFAT President, Engineer Bolarinwa Kamildeen Abayomi.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with some of the top shots in the movie industry and they all confirmed that the late theatre practitioner was not only a fantastic colleague but a role model
What would you say about late Bukky Ajayi?
Apart from mama being a very great thespian, she was also a role model to every one of us in the industry. Each time we met, she was always happy. She loved boosting people’s morale. She was a very nice woman, even outside acting.
What would you miss about her?
I will miss her greatly, especially her elderly advice. I will definitely miss her, no doubt about that.
How would you describe her death?
It’s shocking, very shocking. But when we looked back and realized the fact that she was aged enough, then we just thanked God for her.
How would you describe mama’s death?
It’s very painful though, we thank God for her ripe age. But because of her immense contribution to the development of our industry, we’re not happy that she left us. She was a mother indeed. Her impact on the younger ones will forever be remembered.
What will you miss most about her?
I will miss her acting prowess, kindness and motherly role in the industry generally.
What will she be remembered for?
She would be remembered for upholding the ethics of the profession. She was a very disciplined thespian. She was a fantastic actress
What’s your comment about late Bukky Ajayi? How would you describe her death?
Mama was a wonderful woman. Although, she lived long, we would have loved her to live longer. Mama left a great legacy. Besides, mama, did not only excel in her chosen profession which is the creative industry but was able to maintain her distinctive identity as a true believer. She didn’t allow her fame, glamour and achievements to blind her to the reality that one day she would meet Almighty Allah.
Again, it’s an impressive thing that Hajia Bukky Ajayi also used her fame, success and all that to promote Islam. She was a lesson to us that you could be a star and a successful person in whatever you do, and still remain a true believer. May Allah reward her with Aljannah firdous.
How would you describe late Bukky Ajayi?
She was an awesome person, somebody you can never forget. Aunty was a very jovial person. And all of us in the industry loved her for that. I always loved her jokes. She was just a wonderful person.
What would you miss most about he?
I will miss all her troubles. When I say trouble, I mean in a good way, Aunty would say, “All of you didn’t see me in a month and you’re not bothered. If I had died, that’s how you wouldn’t have cared. If I die and you come to my burial, I will chase all of you away with cane.” She was a person that could live anywhere she found herself.
How would you describe her as an actress?
Aunty goes beyond an actress to me. We have been watching her even when we’re much younger. We always saw her as one of the most beautiful women on TV when we’re teenagers. So, she was good at everything she set her hands on. Aunty was really awesome.
How would you describe Mama’s death?
It’s a big loss to the Nigerian movie industry as a whole, not just the Yoruba genre. It’s a big blow, no doubt about that.
How would you describe your relationship with her?
It was fantastic. Mama was a sweet mother. She was a very kind woman indeed. It there’s any other word to qualify her, I should have used it. She was just too much, a nice mother. You don’t have o be her biological child before she embraced you. She was at my mom’s burial which I didn’t even expect. Her presence that day was a big surprise to me. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her. Mama was a woman all of us should emulate.
How would you describe mama?
Mama Bukky Ajayi was everything to me. I don’t even know how to express how much I loved her. She was a peace maker. She will forever live in our hearts. But I am so happy she died at a ripe age and she left a good legacy that will be there forever. As you can see, all of us are here today to celebrate her. That alone tells you how important she was in the industry.
She was on the location of your popular movie, Eti Keta about five years ago, how would you describe working with her?
She was just a fantastic woman. That’s where I tagged her a peace maker because I had a little issue which she resolved. We were done with her scenes and we asked her to go. But mama said, “Saidi, I have to wait behind and see some things so that everything will be successful, and she did. I really thank God for her life.
That means, personally you will miss her?
That’s just the basic truth. I will miss everything about her.
What would you like to say concerning Mama Bukky Ajayi’s death? How would you describe it?
We thank Allah for her life. She lived an exemplary life, worthy of emulation. It’s Allah that gives life and He’s the only one that takes it when it’s time. Thank God, she died at 82. But at the same time, we wouldn’t have allowed her to go if we had power over her soul. I just pray to Allah that I too clock that age. Mama was a very religious woman and she submitted herself to the will of Allah. She also gave her best to the industry. She was a very credible actress and a wonderful broadcaster. She was blessed with a very good diction. And with that, when she came to the industry, she changed a lot of things. We loved mama a lot, but Allah loves her the most.
How would you describe her exit from the industry?
She left a vacuum that can’t be filled by anybody. She was just a wonderful woman. Is it her diction, acting style or what? She was just too much. Even at her age, she was a very diverse actress. She played perfectly all the roles that suited her age at every stage of her acting career.
How did you receive the news of her death?
I was shocked. After the award she received early this year, I called her on phone and congratulated her. But she said, “Ayo, come to Surulere here and see me, otherwise if I come there, I will knock your head.” And both of us laughed. She was just a very jovial woman and a mother to all. When I heard the news of her death on the radio, I started crying like a baby.
What would you like to remember her for?
Mama was a heroine. She was one of the people I looked up to. May Allah grant her Aljannah.
How would you describe Bukky Ajayi’s death?
It’s very painful, especially the time it happened because we still needed her in the industry. Although, glory be to God, she was old enough. Everyone of us will also go one day, whether we like it or not. We thank God for her life. Aunty Bukky did well in the industry and in the Islamic circuit.
What are her legacies you also emulate?
She was a mother, a very good companion, colleague and all that. I saw all these qualities I so much admired. In fact, she will be very much remembered for everything. In the industry, she was one of the most talented. She always interpreted her role very well. I loved her, she was a fantastic woman.
What would you miss most about her?
I will miss her motherly care. She loved me I also loved her. She was an aunty and a mother. She was a very jovial person. We were together with Saidi Balogun when we’re shooting Eti Keta. After she finished her role, she was there with us for additional four days to help see through things on the location.
In fact, she was good mother. I would personally miss her and the industry as a whole would also miss her. Her exit from the industry is very painful and will be very difficult to get a replacement for her
What would you say about late Bukky Ajayi?
Mama was wonderful. I believe you also heard what everybody here today had said. All that have spoken here today, including Tade Ogidan have made a perfect expression of who mama was. She was so committed to her work. She always played the role of a mother every time. Whenever she was on location, after finishing our recording, for like three days she won’t leave. She would want to stay till the last day to ensure everything was okay. She would be like a mother to everybody. She would even chastise those who were not behaving well. Yu can’t but love her as you love your mother. Of course, I knew her for almost 31 years when we were on Village Headmaster. She was always involved in Tade Ogidan’s productions likewise mine. We believe her attitude would always be of help to us. She was somebody that would always checkmate the excesses of actors, and even the crew. Also, she was a devout Muslim. Like they had rightly said, she converted to Islam. But since she converted for over 30 years, she took her religion very serious. And her family, despite being a Christian one, respected her a lot. They all saw her as a wonderful woman.
Would you describe her death as a national loss?
Yes, it is.
How would you describe late Bukky Ajayi?
She was a well responsible mother, a mother to the core. I can remember when I invited mama Bukky Ajayi in 1998 for one of my movies, Oba Elesan, she said, “My son, your movie is the first Yoruba movie I will be taking part in.” She said she’s happy doing that for me and she prayed for me.
Another thing I noticed about her was that she didn’t charge any amount, I only gave her the token I had and she really appreciated it. She was pleased with the little amount. The gesture really surprised me. Each time you’re on location with her, she always preached contentment, peace, especially in the Yoruba sector. Then, she always advised us to be respectful to elders. If you offended this woman, she would never be upset. Instead, she would invite you and advise you as well. She related with all of us in the industry the same way. She loved the younger ones a lot. This was why she was a mother to us all. I pray for her gentle soul to rest in perfect peace.
What would you miss most about her?
Everything you can miss about a mother and a very nice woman. I saw her beyond a colleague. She was a mother indeed. She was always happy and peaceful. She was a disciplined and fantastic actress. I will personally miss Mama Zainab Bukky Ajayi.
How would you assess today’s event?
So far so good, everything turned out successful. The turnout was massive and we’re highly honoured. It’s indeed a blessing.
What’s your comment on NASFAT’s support for mama?
It’s been so wonderful. I don’t think we would have been able to do this without their support. They gave us the venue, the tents and everything needed to make the programme a huge success. Their support was very wonderful.
Can give a word for the entertainment community, especially mama’s close colleagues who honoured her today?
We were overwhelmed seeing all the big names in the industry trooping in to honour our mother. Almost all the elders in the industry are here just because of her. We can’t thank them enough. We pray God will be with them all.
Can you tell us a little about the property mama left behind?
We’re not talking about that.
Did she actually die in her bed, wheelchair or where exactly?
We’re not talking about that. Our mother has gone, let her rest well. We have heard and read a lot of rumours about her death. But how it happened, we know as her children. Whatever people might have said or written don’t bother us. May Allah grand her Aljannah.