September 29 is special in the Jacobs and Silva’s family and this year sees the remarkable and inimitable Joke Silva clock the big 60! The celebrated thespian, mother and wife took to her Instagram page to share lovely images from a photo session, well dressed and costumed. The day actually marks double celebration as the stage and screen amazon revealed she had spent four active decades in the theatre and movie industry. Silva who is married to the very well-known actor, Olu Jacobs, reflected on how they renewed their vows when she clocked 50, some ten years ago.
At 60, Silva, the matriarch who holds figures dearly, is thankful to God for his massive mercies and gratitude for health, for love of family and friends. As she reflected on happenings in her life in the last 10 years, she also used the occasion of her diamond jubilee anniversary to announce her biography which is in the works. The catchy title, she said, will be #[email protected]. Joke declared: “Numbers are very important to me, so this year, as I turn 60, I also mark forty years in the industry I love. My biography of that title #40at60 is actually in the works. Psalm 100 (40+60) is on my lips today as I express my gratitude to God!
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God…It has been an incredible journey and I thank you all for your endless love.” Silva is the Vice Chairman and the Director of Studies at the Lufodo Group, a media corporation that consists of film production, distribution, training and consultancy. She is also the pioneer Managing Director of Malete Film Village, in association with the 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, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. A lodestar of many in the industry, Silva notably has shone through the years and has been at the arrowhead of few but great female thespians whose contributions, expertise, carriage, and charisma largely felt.
As a testimony, screen goddess, Iretiola Doyle, reflects in her Instagram post celebrating Silva. “She was my “light bulb moment”… my “eureka”. I could always act (without realising “I could act”). In primary school I was the go to person for school plays etc. Never something I thought I’d pursue professionally or even wanted. I will never forget that day sitting in my apartment in Jos, watching Lola Fani-Kayode’s #MindBending… Oh. My. God. @ajokesilva performance took me on an emotional journey rarely experienced watching a dramatic piece…couldn’t take my eyes off her till she was done with me.
“That was the moment I knew…I wanted to do what she did… She was the standard. Thank you Aunty J…for running so we can fly…thank you for inspiring, thank you for your uncanny ability to take one good look at me and just know that something is off…thank you; for those deep personal conversations at pivotal times that more often than not led to clarity… thank you. May His grace continue abound to you… Happy Birthday Mama!!!”
A graduate of the University of Lagos and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Joke began her career in film in the 1980s. She had her major role in 1998, starring opposite Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film, The Secret Laughter of Women. Writing in his weekly column days before Silva’s 60th birthday, under the title “Joke Silva: A Gazelle Across The Ages”, ace journalist Femi Akintude-Johnson chronicles Silva’s long list of acting credit and journey into stardom thus: “Let’s try and retrace her dainty footsteps back a little bit. Her 1980s activities were strung between stage, school, “several radio and television drama in early ‘81”, and ‘hubbying’ with her ‘gentle giant’. She kicked off with Soyinka’s Jero’s Metamorphosis (1981) for the Nigerian National Theatre with Edith Enem as the Artistic Director.