Joke Silva

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Joke Silva
Joke Silva.jpg
Born (1961-09-29) 29 September 1961 (age 56)
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Occupation Actress, director, and businesswoman
Spouse(s) Olu Jacobs

Joke Silva (born 29 September 1961) is a Nigerian actress, director, and businesswoman.

A graduate of the University of Lagos and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she began a career in film in the early 1990s. In 1998 she had a major role starred opposite Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film The Secret Laughter of Women. In 2006 she won "Best Actress in a Leading Role" at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her performance in Women's Cot, and "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" at the 4th Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008 for her performance as a grandmother in White Waters.

Silva is married to actor Olu Jacobs. The couple founded and operate the Lufodo Group covering film production and distribution assets and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, where she is Director of Studies. She is also the pioneering managing director of Malete Film Village, in association with Kwara State University. On 29 September 2014, Silva received recognition as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria's National Honours Awards, at the International Conference Centre in [[Abuja][citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Silva was born in Lagos, into a family of four children.[1] Her mother, Adebimbola Silva, a pioneering female doctor, died in July 2015.[2] Her father was a lawyer.[3] She attended Holy Child College in Lagos.[1] At university she was part of a cultural group that included the playwright Bode Osanyin and the singer Stella Monye.[4] Silva took a year off from her studies, during which time she began working as an actress.[3] Silva then relocated to England, studying drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[1] Initially her parents were opposed to Silva's decision to go into the theatre but they soon began to support her, happy at the success she made of her career.[5] During a slow period of her career, she returned to school, studying English at the University of Lagos.[1][3]


Earlier roles (1990–2004)[edit]

Silva has starred in numerous films and television series in both the English and Yoruba languages.[6] One of her earliest roles was in the 1990 English film Mind Bending.[7] In 1993 she appeared in Owulorojo, followed by Violated in 1995.[8] In 1998 she starred opposite Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film The Secret Laughter of Women, in which she portrayed Nene.[9] Author Finola Kerrigan noted than Silva stood out as an exceptional actress in the Nigerian film industry after mentioning her role.[10]

In 2002, Silva starred opposite Bimbo Akintola in Keeping Faith. Akintola later cited Silva, whom she refers to as "Aunty Joke", as a major career influence, adding, "Silva has done a lot, but it's not even about the things that she did, it's about the things she didn’t realize that she did".[11] Also in 2002, Silva co-produced and starred in The Kingmaker with Olu Jacobs.[12] This was followed by roles in pictures such as A Husband’s Wife (2003), Shylock (2004), and A Past Came Calling (2004).[13]

Critical success (2006–present)[edit]

In 2006, Silva was awarded the "Best Actress in a Leading Role" at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her role in Women's Cot.[14][15] Later that year, Silva starred opposite Genevieve Nnaji in Mildred Okwo's action thriller 30 Days, which received 10 nominations at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008.[16][17] She also narrated for Jeta Amata's Anglo-Nigerian production The Amazing Grace,[18] which was shot in Calabar.[19] The film was lauded by the critics, and was nominated for 11 African Movie Academy Awards.[20] The News noted Silva's "song-like voice, [which] provides insight to the actions".[19]

In 2007, Silva starred opposite Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Michael Okon and Fred Essien in Ndubuisi Okoh's To Love and to Hold.[21] Silva won Best Supporting Actress in 2008[22] for her "methodical portrayal of a grandmother" in White Waters (2007), though she was not at the ceremony to receive her award in person.[23] In a November 2008 interview, Silva professed that "whenever she had to play an evil character in a film, she would pray and use Jesus as her 'hedge'".[24] Silva is also the recipient of an EMOTAN Award from African Independent Television (AIT) and the SOLIDRA Award for Visual Art.[4]

In 2011, Silva starred alongside Nse Ikpe Etim, Wale Ojo and Lydia Forson in Kunle Afolayan's romantic comedy Phone Swap.[25] Lauded by the critics, and one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year,[26] it received four nominations at the 8th Africa Movie Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Nigerian Film. It also won the award for Achievement in Production Design.[27] In 2013, Silva took to the stage to appear in the Thespian Family Theatre and Productions staging of the "Mad King of Ijudiya" at the Agip Hall of Muson Centre of Lagos at Christmas. Two shows were put on at 3pm and 6pm on 21, 22, 28 and 29 December, which Vanguard described as a "rich blend of folklore, traditional dance and music that naturally transports the audience to a typical African village setting".[28]

United Nations goodwill ambassador[edit]

In October 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime appointed Joke Silva a goodwill ambassador. In accordance with the UN policy of enlisting prominent figures in art, music, film, sport and literature to assist with their campaigns, Silva's role was focused on her participation in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria. Work fighting human trafficking was part of the "I Am Priceless" campaign, which had also received support from the Nigerian authorities. Silva's appointment was for a period of three years.[29] [30]

Personal life[edit]

Silva, with her husband Olu Jacobs at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards

Silva is married to veteran actor Olu Jacobs with two children. The couple met in 1981 at the National Theatre, Lagos during the 21st Independence anniversary.[8]

Silva is Director of Studies at the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, while her husband chairs it.[13] Lufodo Academy is one of several assets the couple own as part of the Lufodo Group, including Lufodo Productions, Lufodo Consult, and Lufodo Distribution. Silva has curated for the Bank of Industry (BOI) in Theatre, Film, Documentary and Poetry and the 2012 London Olympics,[4] and is also the pioneer managing director of Malete Film Village, in association with Kwara State University.[7]

In addition to her work as an actress, Silva is a philanthropist and a strong supporter of women's emancipation and empowerment, contributing to their education, training and progress.[31]

On 29 September 2014, Silva was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria's national awards, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.[32] In September 2016 she was unveiled as the brand ambassador for AIICO Pension Managers Limited (APML).[33]


  1. ^ a b c d Okoye, Chinyere (14 May 2009). "On Set Joke Silva Divorces All". AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Photos from the burial of Joke Silva's mum". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Emeka, Mazi (26 August 2016). "PROFILE: The day Joke Silva charmed me". YNaija. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Nollywood Actress Joke Silva's Biography". Information Nigeria. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "My Life As A Medical Doctor- Abimbola Silva, Nigeria's Oldest Female Doctor". The Elites. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Why I haven't been featuring in Yoruba movies!". The Vanguard. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "7 Reasons Why We Love Joke Silva". 22 January 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "10 Things You Don't Know About Joke Silva". Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Secret Laughter of Women". British Film Institute. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Kerrigan 2010, p. 87.
  11. ^ "How Joke Silva influenced my career' – Nollywood actress, Bimbo Akintola". Nigerian Entertainment Today. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  12. ^ Foubiri 2015, p. 351.
  13. ^ a b "JOKE Silva – Director of Studies Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts". Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "AMAA 2006 - List of Winners". African Movie Academy Awards. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Tell. Tell Communications Limited. 2006. p. 48. 
  16. ^ "AMAA Nominees and Winners 2008". African Movie Academy Award. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "List of Nominees for AMAA 2008". Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Haynes 2016, p. 325.
  19. ^ a b The News. Independent Communications Network Limited. 2007. pp. 62–3. 
  20. ^ "AMAA Nominees and Winners 2007". African Movie Academy Award. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "The Janidogo the continued adventure from 'To Love and To Hold'". Whsmith. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  22. ^ Oluikpe, Nkasiobi. "Artistes in Big Dream for 2009". AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  23. ^ Tell. Tell Communications Limited. 2008. 
  24. ^ Bender 2012, p. 112.
  25. ^ "Nse Ikpe Etim, Wale Ojo, Joke Silva, Lydia Forson & Chika Okpala star in Kunle Afolayan's "Phone Swap" – View the Teaser". Bella Naija. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Kunle Afolayan dedicates new movie 'Phone Swap' to Sam Loco Efe". Nigeria Movies Network. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  27. ^ "AMAA Nominees and Winners 2012". Africa Movie Academy Awards - Africa Film Academy. AMA Awards. 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  28. ^ "Joke Silva, Akin Lewis for Mad King of Ijudiya". Vanguard. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  29. ^ "Veteran Actress Joke Silva, MI Made UN Ambassadors". Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  30. ^ "I Am Priceless Campaign". UNODC. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  31. ^ Aka, Jubril Olabode (2012). Nigerian Women of Distinction, Honour and Exemplary Presidential Qualities: Equal Opportunities For All Genders (White, Black or Coloured People). Trafford Publishing. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-1-4669-1555-8. 
  32. ^ "Joke Silva "feels honoured" by MFR award". 22 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  33. ^ "AIICO Pension Managers unveils Joke Silva as brand ambassador". Vanguard. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 


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