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Joke Silva


Women You Should Know: Joke Silva

Actress, Director, Businesswoman, Philanthropist…, Much More! Joke Silva.

Silva: Born and fed from a ‘Silva’ Spoon

Silva was born on the 29th of September 1961, in Lagos into an Amaro family of four children. In the later years of her life however, she discovered that she was an adopted child of the Silva’s. Her mother, Adebimbola Silva, was a pioneering doctor, and her father was a lawyer. As a child, Joke attended Holy Child College in Lagos. Later, she relocated to England, studying drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and eventually, studying English at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Joke’s passion for acting saw her take off a year from her studies to begin work as an actress. Much to the chagrin of her parents, she nonetheless ventured into acting; a resilience that later saw her parents’ opposition revert to support for her life in the theatre.

Silva: Joke is not a Joke

Joke’s acting career took off in the early 1990s and from that period, it has been ‘upward ever’. Silva has starred in numerous films and television series in both the English and Yoruba languages. Some of her early roles includes the English film ‘Mind Bending’ in 1990, ‘Owulorojo’ in 1993, ‘Violated’ in 1995, as well as starring alongside Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film, ‘The Secret Laughter of Women’ in 1998, where she portrayed a character ‘Nene’. Her influence has earned her the moniker, ‘Aunty Joke’ amongst colleagues in the industry. One remarkable thing about Silva is her spiritual incline; she professed that “whenever she had to play an evil character in a film, she would pray and use Jesus as her ‘hedge'”.

Silva: With a heart of Gold

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. Silva is a philanthropist and a strong supporter of women’s emancipation and empowerment, contributing to their education, training and progress. Silva has curated for the Bank of Industry (BOI) in Theatre, Film, Documentary and Poetry and the 2012 London Olympics

  • In 2006 she won “Best Actress in a Leading Role” at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her performance in Women’s Cot.
  • “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 also the recipient of an EMOTAN Award from African Independent Television (AIT)
  • She is also a recipient of the SOLIDRA Award for Visual Art.
  • 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.
  • In September 2016 she was unveiled as the brand ambassador for AIICO Pension Managers Limited (APML).

Silva: The Storyline Continues…

Silva is married to veteran actor Olu Jacobs, who she met in 1981 at the National Theatre in Lagos, during Nigeria’s 21st Independence anniversary. 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.


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




Featured image source: Premium Times Nigeria

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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