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Saturday

Popular Albino actor, Adewale Elesho talks about the mystery surrounding his birth

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Popular actor, Adewale Elesho, has been in the Nigerian movie industry for over 30 years. He shares his experience with Ademola Olonilua.

Were you treated differently while growing up due to your albinism?
My story may sound funny to people, so I always try not to share it. I was the most pampered child among my siblings and it is all thanks to my albinism. My father really took care of me but I never really knew the reason till I became an adult. My mother told me that she became sad when she saw me after giving birth to me. It appeared strange to her how I could be fair in complexion while both my parents were dark skinned. Because my father was a cocoa farmer who interacted with foreigners and also the presence of foreigners in the hospital where I was born in Ibadan, people began to speculate that probably my mother had an affair with a foreigner. ''

She said that made her cry a lot. They later sent for my father but to her surprise, when my father saw me, he was very happy and he began to dance joyously. She said that she was shocked that my father was that elated. He left her to buy all the required items. I was told that my christening was a very elaborate one as well. Whenever my father was going out, some of us his kids would go with him but because I was different, it made me feel inferior.

 But once my father noticed this, he made sure that I was the only one to follow him. My father so much loved me that he never allowed anyone to beat me or maltreat me in anyway. I was later told my father loved me so much because I had the same skin colour as his mother. Any time my father went to the palace of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, I was the only one he took with him. I was always with him to carry his bag everywhere he was going to. I am very grateful to God for my complexion and I am also thankful to God for giving me good parents who took good care of me especially my father. It was my father who took care of me a lot, he loved me so much. When he died, I gave him a befitting burial and every one in Ikirun bore witness to the fact that I buried my father in style.

Most of your contemporaries got married to more than one wife, same thing with your father. How come you decided to marry just one wife?
As for my father who had many wives, it was for a reason and they were all helpful to him. They were all helping him in the farm. Likewise my bosses; they all had many wives because of their theatre company. Back then, no parent wanted their child to be an entertainer, so our bosses employed their wives and children. Those that were into polygamy back then did not do it because they loved women or they could not control themselves. They did it because of the nature of their job.
 But we read somewhere that you were a taxi driver when you first came to Lagos, how true is that?
I was never a taxi driver. I was in the movie, Taxi Driver, which was produced by Adelove. The film was in two parts and it was a very interesting one.
How did you meet your wife?
I have never made women a priority in my life. My life has always been about my work. The first lady I got married to travelled out of the country and I told her that once she left the shores of Nigeria, she should start a new life because I have never been a believer of long distance relationship. The woman who is now my wife met me in Ibadan and the way we met was quite funny. I went with my friend to shoot a movie in Ibadan and after the shoot, he said I should accompany him to a funeral and I obliged. My wife happened to be the best friend to the daughter of the woman who was being buried. When we got to the venue, the MC was not yet there, so my friend told me to go on stage and cheer the crowd. When I was on stage, I noticed that there was this particular lady hurling insults at me. She kept saying that I was not the one billed to perform but the more she insulted me, the more I was laughing. Eventually, the MC came and I had to leave the stage. My friend later pointed out the lady that was insulting me and we asked her to join us. When she got to where we were, she continued to insult me and I found it hilarious. She later asked me if I had eaten but I said no. She said there was salt in their food and since they say albinos don’t eat salt, she did not know if it was safe to serve me. She said that was why she told them not to give me food. I laughed at her once again. At the end of the day, we became friends and as time went on, we became lovers and got married.


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