19 January 2013

Nigeria: 'Why I Compromised Teaching for Acting'


Kannywood is an industry that breeds stars and professionals, one of whom is Sadisu Abba Sawaba, who has successfully enrolled himself in the Hausa film industry and written his name in gold. He was a classroom teacher turned actor and model and in this chat with AL-AMIN CIROMA, the Kannywood star bares his mind on his teaching experience and acting career among other issues.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Sadisu Abba Sawaba, born and bred in Jos, Plateau State. I had both my primary and secondary education in Jos. Afterwards, I moved to Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, where I obtained a certificate in Accounting and Auditing.

I also bagged a diploma in Business Management from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University and another advance diploma course in Psychology from the University of Jos. I finally obtained my degree from the Edo State University, Ekpoma, after which, I settled in Kaduna as a teacher between 2009 and 2010.

You mean you left teaching for acting?

No, I am still teaching but my acting career started when a close friend, Mansur SB, motivated and encouraged me to go into acting. I was initially reluctant about it because I wanted to keep my profession as a teacher.

Tell us how it all happened?

It was the same Mansur, after writing a script, who convinced me that I will fit into the lead role of that movie. I reluctantly accepted the offer even though I had a strong passion for the entertainment industry. That was how it all started like a magic. We shot the movie and the experience was marvellous and fulfilling.

I still remember the experience vividly as so many people made me happy in that industry. Those who mentored me include Ahmad Tage, who introduced me to Aminu Saira and Ali Gumzak. Famous playback singer cum lyricist, Abubakar Sani gave me a challenging role in a movie he produced, sometimes back in 2009.

What was your first Kannywood video?

My first film was 'Ingausa,' 2009, where I starred with Ibrahim Maishunku. But my major breakthrough was Saira's 'Jamila Da Jamilu' in 2009.

People consider you a replica of Ibrahim Maishunku. Why is that?

Yes, it is true we share something in common but it is not that serious. Maybe it was because Maishunku gesticulates in music scenes, he also doesn't perform dancing steps like me. I don't fancy dancing in most music interludes and scenes.

Maishunku gave his fans clear reasons why he doesn't subscribe to dancing, what is your own reason?

It is best known to me. What matters most is characterisation and delivering your lines accordingly.

How did you cope with families and friends when you started your acting career?

It was quite challenging, but after a while my parents accepted it and blessed me on the condition that I would be discreet about anything I do. My dad initially kicked against acting just because he dislikes the singing and dancing interludes in Hausa movies.

So, your father is the reason why you do not dance?

Yes, of course.

What is your view of Kannywood?

It is really an interesting industry, it has come to stay, a very vibrant and flourishing world. As a classroom teacher, I have personally had lots of wonderful experiences, which appeals to me, when I am with my students.

It is believed that the entertainment industry is full of scandals. How do you manage?

You know, people will always talk, they are entitled to their opinions on any issue and there's nothing anybody can do about it. The entertainment industry is one big country of some sorts, where you meet different people day-in-day out, with their respective and divergent opinions. Whatever you can imagine is obtainable. So I am really working hard to keep away from scandals at all times.

As an upcoming actor, what are the obstacles you are confronted with?

Well, I don't call them obstacles or problems per se, but rather challenges and that is what keeps me going. Once you can conquer them, success is sure to be yours. I also have some mentors like Adam A. Zango, who is my pillar in the industry.

Who is your godfather in Kannywood?

My godfather is director, Ali Gumzak, I seek his advice. But I enjoy working with Mallam Aminu Saira, Auwal Yasin, and all others. I am also close to Ali Nuhu. He is such a great hero that celebrates others.

Who are your friends in the Hausa film industry?

I don't have friends, but colleagues. As I earlier said, I am attached to Ali Nuhu, Ibrahim Maishunku, Shu'aibu Lawan Kumurci, Adam A. Zango and I cherish Sadik Sani Sadik, Zaharadden Sani, Zainab Indomie and Nafisa Abdullahi.

Where do you hope to see yourself in the nearest future?

I want to be as popular as Michael Jackson, I always pray that God lifts me higher and blesses me with unbiased stardom.

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