Last week we talked about Checkmate, the unforgettable TV series that held the attention of Nigerian viewers in the 90’s. Checkmate was created by the screenwriter and director Amaka Igwe, and it featured an intriguing romance between two lead characters called Ann Haastrope and Segun Kadiri. Ann was played by Ego Boyo, and Segun was played by Richard Mofe-Damijo. The relationship between these two characters became an iconic feature of the Checkmate show. The show ended in 1994, but Amaka Igwe brought the fascinating chemistry between those two faces back to memories all over the country when she put Ego Boyo and Richard Mofe-Damijo together again in a two-part home movie called Violated.
Nollywood faces were not as common to see them as they are today. Nollywood was not known as Nollywood until sometime in 2004. In 1994, the Nigerian movie industry was still in its very early stages and only a few characters were famously known. After the success of Checkmate, Richard Mofe-Damijo (affectionately called RMD) and Ego Boyo were young and known almost all over Nigeria. It was exciting to see them both acting together again in a new film. RMD was Tega, the cherished son of a wealthy woman who went through a harrowing birth experience to have him. While Ego Boyo (then Ego Nnamani), played the part of Peggy; an unfortunate girl very low on the social ladder who meets the charming Tega when she begins working for his mother. The two, Peggy (Ego Boyo) and Tega (RMD), fall in love and got married in spite of the many trials that the differences in their worlds caused. But secrets emerge later on that would challenge even the strongest bonds.
Violated was released in 1996. The film was written and directed by Amaka Igwe, and produced by Ego Boyo. Mildred Iweka gives an incredible performance as Tega’s mother, first as a pregnant woman in serious pain and then as a mother doting over her irreplaceable, only son. As the film progresses, the story switches from Tega to Peggy in different scenes that show what their lives are like before they meet. The shocking reality of the film is that the lovers, Tega and Peggy, are actually brother and sister, siblings that were abandoned in the bush by their real mother at the very beginning of the story. One of Amaka Igwe’s legacies was that she created some of the most amazing stories and characters for Nigerian TV in those early days. Violated does not fall short of the legend.
At the time when Violated was produced and released, Nigerian home movies were produced at once in large quantities of videotapes, then distributed to marketers who would sell the video cassettes to movie-lovers. During this period, a home video normally sold an average of 30,000-50,000 copies but Violated sold a shocking estimate of 150,000 copies. Violated was one of the highest-selling films in 1996. It has been referred to as one of the Nollywood films that can never be forgotten.
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