By Tony Ogaga
Ageless beauty and mother of three, Joke Silva has come a long way. For the past 32 years, she has been married to veteran actor, Olu Jacobs and their marriage stands as one of the most successful in an industry where marriages crash regularly. Entertainer caught up with the founder of Lufodo Acting Academy during the press conference to unveil Light in The Dark, a movie which addresses domestic violence last week in Lagos, and the actress opened up on her current project as well as how to handle an abusive relationship among others.
What is the secret of your ageless looks?
(Laughter) I think it is always keeping busy. And talking about being busy, I am working on a production called ‘Heartbeat The Musical’ which is part of the Lagos @ 50 celebrations. It is happening on the 25th, 26th and 27th of May at Terra Culture. I am always working, whether it is putting together a show or getting Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts on track. I think it helps you not to be focused on those things that may not be too right with your life. Maybe your account could be in the red but because you are working you don’t have time to start thinking about that, so I think when you are not thinking too much about things that are not so important but focusing on the things that are right, it helps the wrinkles not appearing. But for us as black people, we don’t wrinkle easily.
How does Heartbeat The Musical fit into Lagos @ 50?
Heartbeat The Musical is a story about Lagos. And it tells the story of how everybody comes from everywhere to Lagos. For most people, Lagos is the London, the New York; the Mecca of their dreams, the land that flows with milk and honey and the streets paved with gold. So, everybody comes to Lagos for their own share of the Lagos dream and then some of them fall through the cracks in this incredible and bustling sea of humanity, and then you find a young person who says ‘wait a minute, these politicians should do this and that but they are not doing it, come on let us put them right’. And then, they get violent but violence is not the answer to such things. But in going through that method, people never remember that there will always be collateral damage and your loved ones could be the ones that will be the collateral damage. It is in experiencing such, that the young man realises there has to be another way to effect the change; there must be another way to get the leaders have a paradigm shift and think about the populace, there must be another way to get the populace to have a paradigm shift and think about the nation. That is what Heartbeat The Musical is all about. It is a story of hope and we are talking about the heartbeat of Nigeria, which is Lagos. Lagos is Nigeria in microcosm. It was written by Tosin Osundeko. When we showed it in November and December, one of the constant comments we kept getting was that ‘is there hope?’ And for me that is key. Once we have hope, once we believe that it is possible, there is nothing we can’t achieve.
Let’s talk about Light in The Dark. Why did you take up the script?
Wow! That was because of the depth of the script. I like when we celebrate the human spirit; I am talking about the resilience of the human spirit, the ability to conquer situations. That is what Light in The Dark does.
A while ago, you and your husband celebrated 32 years of marriage. What advice do you have for couples regarding break-ups?
People say marriages are breaking here and there, fine. But the reason marriages are breaking up in Nollywood is because we are out there in the public domain. There are so many marriages breaking up among lawyers, bankers and doctors, and when you compare that to the number of marriages breaking up in Nollywood, you find that it is a very small percentage. The fact is that social media is now our reality and it is having a lot of effect on the industry. So, when people say to me, ‘what advise are you giving younger people?’ My dear, that is what Light in The Dark is also about. The issue is that if someone is experiencing violence, male or female, leave the marriage. Leave it because when you die the other person continues living. For me, whether the abuse is emotional or physical, please leave; and let each party get counseling, then you can come back together if counseling works, but if not, don’t come back.
So, when people talk about ‘advice’ I don’t know what advice to give because I am not walking with their shoes, honestly. You tell somebody ‘have patience.’ What if that person has been having patience, patience and patience? Did I have patience in mine? Yes. Did I lose my temper? Actually, I think my son will say that I have a very short fuse. So, I think what is key to any marriage is grace. Pray for the Lord to be the third person in your marriage. Pray for his grace to have wisdom, staying power, grace to have listening anointing. It is not just listening to what is being said but to everything, the body language, the way things are said. The grace to have respect for each other is key. The grace to want to have what is best for your partner is important. If you want your partner to succeed, if that is your focus, then you too will succeed. And it is a two-way traffic. It is not the woman continuously wanting the husband to succeed or the husband wanting the wife to succeed alone; it has to be simultaneous. If the two of you are working together, the sky is the limit.