Fabian Lodeje Compares Nigerian and South African Industry

By on October 8, 2014

Some people have a great presence; the way they talk, phrase their sentences and the way they are sincere, even when they are saying things that may hurt you. Fabian Adeoye Lojede is one such person. He is one of the few foreign filmmakers that have visited our country and not lied to us about our film industry to make us feel better

He’s answer is as simple as his persona.

“I have not watched any Ugandan film so far,” he says in a mixture of sarcasm and honesty.

Lojede is a contrast to the man who swung from one corner of the room to the other in rage.

“I will not let anyone take Abayomi Incorporated, or even get closer to my money. That man is sick; he is mad.” The man he was referring to was actually his father.

This is a scene from a popular pan-African TV drama series, Jacob’s Cross, in which South Africa-based Nigerian actor Lojede was the antagonist, Bola Abayomi, the evil one. The series was so compelling and the story so universal that even when it was mostly produced in South Africa and Nigeria, just like with Africans, had a following from Americans and Europeans.

Meeting Lojede is, indeed, as surprising as his almost free-spirited performance in Jacob’s Cross. He is the kind of actor that gets into a role and the role becomes him, so much that it will stick in one’s mind for a long time to come. Talking to him is even harder, because you keep going back and forth, fighting the urge to call him Abayomi.

Then after a few embarrassing moments of doubt, you face the reality that it is not Abayomi, but Lojede in the flesh.

Clad in a grey jacket and matching shirt, Lojede is composed and very soft-spoken. He has his usual signature look; a bald head and goatee beard, which is loved by many of his lady fans – guess it is one of those features that make his face memorable as well as give him the bad-boy look.

Actually shorter than he appears on TV, he describes himself as a writer, actor, producer, businessman and a creative soul.

“I love creating and developing business ideas. I look at it as coming up with a story,” he says.

Lojede is passionate about the African film industry. He says there were times, especially in the 1970s, when cinema in Nigeria was booming, but then it suffered a setback.

“It is good it is getting back on its feet now,” he says, adding that Nigerians are really supportive of their locally-produced content to the extent that some Nigerian films perform better in Nigeria than Hollywood ones.

Being a protégé of the two most successful African film industries – Nigerian and South African – Lojede notes that each of these has a particular edge over the other.

“Nigeria has an industry in a commercial sense,” he says, but adds that South Africa beats it on the technical front.

When you watch Nigerian movies, he says, you will easily connect to the stories as an African; it is the place to go if you are looking for content.

About EKELEME JUDITH OLUCHI

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