Ene Oloja

Last Modified: 
3 Feb 2011

Born in Nigeria in 1957, Ene Oloja is the first of eleven children born to Chief & Mrs. Oloja. She pursued her academic education with vigor and enthusiasm, always coming out top of her class from elementary to High School, earning the support and love of her teachers, and the respect and admiration of her peers. She played High School sports and was involved in the Dramatic and Debating clubs, competing and winning against opponents statewide.

In 1974, Ene gained admission into the prestigious University of Ibadan, the first University in the country, an offshoot of Oxford in London, to read Theatre Arts, against her family’s wishes.

However, having started her acting career at the age of five with a Nativity Play and starring in the yearly school plays all through her early and teenage years, she was bent on pursuing a career so dear to her heart. Her success and national recognition commenced in 1980 with the unprecedented production of Cock-Crow At Dawn, the first drama serial on Nigerian Network Television of its kind that lasted eight years. She acted in other soap operas; produced and directed a number of made-for-television-movies; scripted for TV drama serials and soaps; and represented Nigeria in several international festivals of television and theatre.

In 1985, she started a two-year Master’s degree program in International Relations and Strategic Studies at University of Jos; completed and submitted her thesis in 1987, in time to make graduation, against numerous odds and while still directing and acting in the award-winning Soap Opera ‘Behind the Clouds. Ene won several national and international awards for her role in Cock-Crow At Dawn as an actress and script writer. She won awards for her directorial ventures, and blazed the trail for the blooming of Nollywood.

She relocated to the United States in 1991 where she has resided since, in addition to quietly raising her pride and joy, her son St. Jermaine. Ene and four others put together the thought provoking theatre production "Echoes from the Diaspora" in 1993, dealing with the immigration experiences of people of color from the Diaspora, staged in NYC and New Jersey to packed audiences.

She played the part of Udo Josai, an African immigrant neighbor who befriends, and becomes a confidant to Erika Baine, played by Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster in the Neil Jordan film "The Brave One". Ene Oloja is a veteran actress both on stage and on film; a versatile media practitioner; brilliant and academically well accomplished. She is highly respected by her Nigerian fans and lovingly referred to as ‘The Doyen’ and ‘Mother’ of acting in Nigeria.

References

  1. I'm Proud of Ene Oloja, Facebook. Available from https://www.facebook.com/groups/6280749244/ [Accessed 3rd February 2011]