May 16, 2015 – Fausat Balogun Madam Saje: How I Met My Husband Rafiu & My Journey Into Nollywood
See excerpts from veteran Nollywood actress Fausat Balogun’s recent chat with Saturday Beats Ademola Olonilua
Has acting always been your dream career?
While growing up, I never envisaged that I would become an actress in life. I am sure that I am doing what God has destined for me because I never knew I would be involved in entertainment while I was young.
So how did you become an actress?
When I was in primary school, my mother was a petty trader. After school, I normally went to her stall to help her sell some goods. All I knew then was that after school, I was going to get a job and raise a family. It was not until a theatre group began to use my mother’s shop for rehearsals after we closed that I began to develop a passion for acting. Before me, there had never been an entertainer in my lineage but I found myself there.
How did your parents react to your career choice being a female and the first entertainer in the family?
My parents were not in support of my career choice especially my father. He was bent on making sure I quit acting. He would always say he sent me to school to read and not to become an actress. He beat me many times because of acting and on some occasions, he stripped me in public. But then I was a little girl, I had just completed my primary education. I was first with a group headed by a man called Mashadow. He was our neighbour. Regardless of my father’s stance, I sometimes ran away from the house so that I could follow my passion. Shortly after, Mashadow’s group left our area and I could not go with them. I later joined another group headed by Rafiu Balogun. When I was with him, we began doing various stage plays. In 1976 we did a play and my parents saw me on the television but my father still insisted that I quit acting. He believed that the industry was for the never do wells. He insisted but I kept sneaking out. When he thought I was in my mother’s shop, I had gone to rehearse. Eventually we did a television programme on NTA called On Stage and it was shown live. My uncle who was a chief saw the play and sent for me. He asked me if I was an actress and I said yes. But I told him that my father was not in support of it. He sent for my father and advised him to allow me to act. After the talk with the chief, my father called me and said he wanted me to go to school but since I was the one who decided otherwise, he had to pray for me. He gave me his blessings and permitted me to act from that day.
Have you ever considered quitting your acting job for any reason?
It has never occurred to me to quit acting. It is the only thing I know how to do best. Some may have considered quitting because of some stories written about them but it is not the case with me.
How have you been able to remain scandal free?
You cannot see a negative story about me because I respect myself a lot. I try my best to treat people the way I want to be treated. I also try my best to only talk to respectable platforms because there are some mushroom media platforms that peddle lies about people. I believe that once you have a name, you should endeavour to protect it.
We learnt that there was a time in your life you were selling drinks and cigarettes…
I never sold drinks, I sold cigarettes and that was what my mother used to sell too.
Would you say marrying somebody who is in the industry contributed to the reason your marriage is a success?
Well it is both ways. Some marriages fail because one of the spouses does not understand the partner’s job. Some might meet in the industry and promise themselves that work would go on but after marriage, things would change because it is not that easy. There are times I leave home for over a week and I would be on location. It is not every man that would be very tolerant. The luck someone like me has is that I married someone who is in the industry and I gave birth to all my children in the industry. Men in this new generation are not that tolerant, if their wives should stay in a location for over a week, they become paranoid. Ironically, it is all in their heads because nothing but work happens on location. That is the reason why some marriages do not last.
But often, people claim that actresses are usually wayward while on set, what do you think?
I disagree. Doctors and nurses also do all sorts when they are in the hospital but nobody is talking because we are in the public eye. There are people who did not marry in the industry and their marriage is still intact. There are even some men who met their wives in the industry and stopped them from acting after marriage. It happens a lot.
How were you able to raise a family while building your career?
Nobody ever helped me to look after my children. I always carried them along to anywhere I went to act. While on location, I would just lay my kids at a corner and continue my work. Even when I used to tour the country, I took my children with me. We would all be cramped in the lorry. In most cases, I knew people in places we visited so I would ask them to look after my children while on stage. After performance, I would go and pick my children. In the 80s, I went for a programme at LTV8 and while I was coming back, there was a gang war at Mushin. I had my child who was barely four months old strapped to my back. I jumped out of the vehicle to run to safety. I would never leave my child at home and go to a movie location. Ladies nowadays give their children to their mothers or relatives but I never did that.
When you presented your husband to your parents, were they not sceptical because he was also an actor?
They had already given me their blessings to become an actress and when I brought the man I wanted to marry, they did not object to my decision.
How did your relationship with your boss lead into a love affair?
I never knew that I would end up marrying my boss because I was just a group member and he was the leader of the group. But when I started with the group, whenever they asked us to come at a particular time to wash our costumes, I was always the first to show up. I was very diligent in my work. It got to a time when our group was disbanded and the people that left called me to join them but I refused. I didn’t go because I am a straight forward person. I was the only one that stood by my boss who is now my husband, Rafiu Balogun. Then, he already had a lover we referred to as Aunty, but the relationship did not work out because the lady’s mother was not in support of their union. She later went to marry someone else. After our group was disbanded, we had to take in new members because we had a television play where I acted as Iya Ojo. I was my boss’ wife in the play. After the play, we became friends and later lovers. I think he fell in love with me because I stood by him when others left.
Some would think you accepted his offer so that you could attain fame fast?
I never knew I would get married to my boss but God had already ordained that he would be the one I would marry and it happened.