Bukky Ajayi: Celebrating an Icon

When the news broke on the 6th of July, that Bukky Ajayi whom we fondly called 'Mama' had lost the battle to heart related issues, i was sad.

2016 has taken a lot of people, people who made an impact on our world, people we grew up wanting to be like.

A great life however has to be celebrated.So while i am saddened by her death, she lived a wonderful life too, and that is what i will be focusing on.

Born as Zainab Bukky Ajayi on the 2nd of February 1934, from a young age Bukky Ajayi loved acting. She would use a cardboard as a TV frame and act whatever roles came to mind while charging children in the neighborhood half a penny to watch. Mama was an actress and an entrepreneur at that young age.

She was also really smart, as she gained a Federal Government scholarship to study in England for six years. She came back to Nigeria after her education in 1965 and started out working in Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a presentation assistant in 1966.

She grew with the NTA, from presentation assistant to presenter and then to news reader. Among the programs she presented was the popular 'Nigeria’s Sketches’, a program which was all about Nigerian culture. I think we all got to know for her role in the movie "Village Headmaster" in the 70’s, and she later got a role in Amaka Igwe’s "Checkmate". 

Fun fact: She is grandmother-in-law to ‘Shake Something’ singer Jazzman Olofin.

Her acting career took off, and she went on to act several other movies, according to her the shooting of international film Critical Assignment in South Africa, was one of the events of her life that she will never forget. 

On SaturdayMarch 5, 2016 at the fourth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, she received an Industry Merit Award (where she made us all cry by asking, "Are you all standing for me?"

Mama gave out a ‘2pac’ sign alongside her son during her 82nd birthday celebration. Credit: Olakunle Fawole

Another fun fact: One of her sons is Abounce (Olakunle Fawole), a veteran rapper. Abounce is one the founding fathers of the Nigerian hip hop culture. He is also a music producer and actor.

Mama lived a great life and will be forever missed in Nollywood and in life.

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