CELEBRITY GIST: Veteran actor, Prince Jide Kosoko is an interesting personality. He has been in the film industry for over 50 years.
He began his acting career as a child actor in 1964 with the Ifelodun Travelling Theatre Group. He has featured in several Nollywood movies of both English and Yoruba Genres.
In this interview with VANESSA OKWARA, he speaks about being a polygamist, his opinion on certain women rights and sundry issues
How did your journey in the film industry start?
I’m over fifty years in the film industry. When we started, there were a lot of challenges in the industry. My professional life started as early as when I was ten years old. That was in a production called ‘Makonjuola’ by the Ifelodun Travelling Theatre Group. I lived then in the same community with late Chief Pat Ogundemi, the Doyin himself. He was the one who actually commercialised theatre in this part of the world. I had the opportunity of going to their house to see them do one thing or the other. When I went to secondary school, I was in the dramatic society. Even in Queens Street in Yaba where I grew up, I use to gather kids around and we formed our own theatre group to act. When the opportunity came in 1964, one of our neighbours, who was part of the production came and told me that they needed a boy of my age in the production. I couldn’t tell my parents because I knew they wouldn’t agree. I went there and met children of my age. We did an audition and I won that role. That marked the beginning of my career. It was a lead role for a small boy of that age and that was how the journey started.
Where you able to attend a higher institution?
After my training in the travelling theatre, I formed my own group in 1972. That was the year I finished my secondary school. It was called Jide Kosoko Theatre Company. One day, I did a production and I invited the then Federal Commissioner for works, Alhaji Tony Ogun as the chairman of the occasion and my father as the special guest of honour. Despite the commissioner giving me money, he advised me to further my education. I had already decided I was not going to further my education but to continue with my passion for theatre. But he was able to convince me. I went to Yaba College of Education but never stopped my love for the arts.
What else did you do when you finished school?
I worked in a shipping company at Apapa. I became a shipping officer. I was a ship agent for a long time. From there I got money to buy first, a Vesper before getting a Volkswagen. In those days I was changing jobs. Getting a job was not as hard as it is now. I also worked with Flour Mills of Nigeria. I kept using this money to sponsor my club. I was also in the masquerade for some time.
How many kids do you have?
You don’t ask a Yoruba man how many children he has. I am blessed with children and they are over one dozen.
You are one of the few Yoruba actors that made a smooth switch to also act English movies and appear in both types of movies. How were you able to achieve this?
An actor must be versatile regardless of the language barrier. I can act in an Indian language if they can give me a prompter.
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