This man brings a totally new dimension to the African movie stage. In a few words this is my view about a man whose acting capabilities must have been ignored by Hollywood in its selection process to fill actors in films with strong African flavours like ‘Hotel Rwanda’. It is indisputable that Richard Mofe-Damijo is an excellent actor. In fact he is one of the best to come out of Africa. Richard’s acting excellence is vibrantly portrayed in the way he becomes part of the story. In how he engages the character he plays to create a moment of reality with his audience. The effortless and natural way he blends into any directors theme only endorses his commitment to what he does.
For anyone to achieve excellent acting skills, one has to not only love the passion that comes with it but must also possess the drive that separates you from the mental state of fiction to the natural makeup of reality. And Richard has successfully achieved this in every one of his movies. Hollywood should indeed pay attention to some of Africa’s finest including but not limited to Omotola Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Stella Damasus, Desmond Williams, Ini Edo, Zack Orji, Justus Esiri, Mike Ezuruonye, Stephanie Okereke, John Okafor, Monalisa Chinda; all whose excellence in the movie industry has brought pride and recognition to African films.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about Richard Mofe Damijo:
Richard Evans Eyimofe Mofe-Damijo, popularly known as RMD, is a former Nigerian journalist/publisher, and now Nollywood actor. Having starred in numerous movies he is one of Nigeria’s highest earning actors. He was once married to the late Nigerian journalist May Ellen Ezekiel.
Mofe-Damijo was born Richard Evans Eyimofe Mofe-Damijo on July 6, 1961 in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. He is from a family of 18 children. While he has many siblings through his father’s polygamous relationships; he is the only child of his mother and is thus strongly bonded to her. Living with his mother, he learned to perform what is regarded in Africa as women’s chores, including cooking.
Mofe-Damijo’s talent started revealing itself when he was a young boy playing in his Warri neighbourhood. In primary school, he took the roles of Jesus or Peter in biblical dramas. During his secondary school years at Midwest College, Warri and Anglican Grammar School, near Sapele, he was a member of the Drama Club where he played both male and female roles. He was also involved in the martial arts, while he studied for his A-levels. This made it a natural transition for him to proceed to the Cook Theatre Arts Department of the University of Benin. From his first year, he played lead roles, which provided clear evidence of his talent and charisma. In 1982, while still in University, he played the lead character Emeka in Echoes of Wrath, his first exposure to television. This made-for-TV film went on to win the Nigerian Television Authority National Annual Drama Competition, and was syndicated to all NTA stations nationwide, thus making him a drama celebrity. As a student, he had acted in several stage productions and is still an avid supporter of the stage. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre in 1983, having specialized in dramatic theory and criticism. Sixteen years later, he would study Law at the University of Lagos, graduating in 2004.
RMD’s first jobs included holiday jobs and working as a clerk. As a clerk, he was paid N200 (200 Naira). Now, he runs a Public relations company called “Whitewater LTD” as part of his production company, RMD Promotions. After graduating from university, he took part in a television soap opera in the late 80’s called Ripples. Before then, he had a stint with Concord Newspapers and Metro Magazine as a reporter. This proved valuable later on. During his first marriage to late May Ellen Ezekiel, a foremost Nigerian journalist popularly known as MEE, he worked briefly with her when she founded Classique magazine. Later, he quit Classique to publish Mister Magazine, now defunct. After MEE’s death in 1996, he married Jumobi, a former African Independent Television presenter in 1999. He has five children.
While many looked forward to seeing him in his performance on the weekly soap which ran for several years, his best was yet to come. The name of the first productions he joined after graduating was called Ajo productions. The audition was a walk over and he got the lead role. RMD, unusually a lover of his critics, relishes in the satisfaction of being paid to do what he loves most. Thus, for him, life is to a large extent a continuous game. RMD also acted in Spacs and Checkmate. His role models and idols in those days were Denzel Washington, Al Pacino and Jimi Solanke. He stands about 6’2/6’3 and played a bit of basketball in secondary school.
Mofe-Damijo’s hobbies are poetry, traveling, and writing.He also likes playing Squash. In addition, he loves Nigerian music, claims he is old school and thus enjoys listening to Chris Okotie, R. Kelly, Prince and Elton John. His greatest passion, however, is acting on stage. RMD says that it is challenging, spontaneous, and involves direct audience participation.
Between 1995-2004, RMD had acted in 30 films like Tulip Banden 1 & 2, Out of Bounds, and The Price etc. He starred in 100 plays on stage and has performed also on the London stage in a Nigerian adaptation of Macbeth and also in the famous in Italy. Out of Bounds was the first film for which he received a writer/producer credit. Furthermore, the film has won many awards in Nigeria, including best actress and best soundtrack.
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