The awards have come in for veteran Nollywood actor RMD and he keeps winning more, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Richard Mofe-Damijo, better known as RMD to many fans, is a folk hero greatly admired for his achievements in acting in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Richard, last Saturday night, emerged winner at the 14th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Kigali, Rwanda. Mofe-Damijo emerged the overall Best Actor in a Leading Role, in the movie Cross Roads.
Following his win, the celebrated actor and model penned a gratitude note about his career journey and how he has managed to earn so many accolades in the past years.
He wrote on his Instagram page, “As a young actor starting out, I always wanted to have a voice to do my craft to the best of my abilities. Get lost in it and be able to shine through no matter the pressures of the living conditions in Nigeria. Am so grateful I have managed to live some of my dreams. The awards have come in and to get them in my life time and not posthumously makes me even more grateful.
“You see, none of my parents made it to be 60 years old. So to be 57 and healthy and winning awards in a profession I love so much just makes me super grateful today. I was at the beautiful new airport in Accra, past 4am using their Wifi when the news from AMAA Awards holding in Kigali came that I won best actor in a leading role for the movie Crossroads. I had won the same award at the very first AMAA AWARDS in Bayelsa. I was later honoured two years ago with a lifetime achievement award in acting. Now this. This is me using this opportunity to say thank you to my fans and everybody else that has made my journey a beautiful one. Keep striving and keep believing and God will make everything perfect in His own time.”
For Nigeria’s leading ‘Prince of the Silver Screen’, RMD has been an actor, politician, writer, lawyer and poet, but he likes to keep it simple by insisting that he likes to be known as an actor, for it was the study of Theatre Arts at the University of Benin, going against the expectations of his parents as the only male child in a family of 17, that opened the opportunities for his other roles. He told this paper sometime early this year that, “I’m an actor because that’s what everybody knows me as. I’m a qualified lawyer, a communicator. I do corporate communications, government relations, public operations and I give opinions on legal matters when it concerns trademarks and intellectual property.”
The most interesting part of the RMD phenomena has been how he was able to take leave of acting and then make a come-back as if he never went for eight years in the first place as popular notion posits that many who take leave of the professions to serve in government are almost never able to return to their original calling. “I began a movement many years ago when one had become even much more than actor by standing up everywhere at every time there was an opportunity to say I’m an actor. That’s what I am. Even as a politician or somebody that served in the government, when people see me, they say, ‘actor’. I wanted to give it a definition that did not in any way denigrate it or me or put me in a certain box.”
The evergreen actor RMD has produced two films in his very active years over a period of 34 years of being in the industry and has maintained a dignity worthy of note. The classed thespian has been more in front of the camera.
And get cast like any other person. “Only Nobert Young and Dede Mabiaku, have done less films than I have done until date, in spite of the fact that I have spent 34 years in this business, I have not done 100 movies. That’s what some people do in six months. I have always chosen deliberately well. I just don’t jump into a role because it is offered to me.
I have probably turned down 20 times more roles than I have accepted. I’m not afraid to say that.
I wasn’t one of those who were in a position to sit down and say ‘oh I need to cast you in a film but before I will cast you, I need you to visit me somewhere. I think that by having the fear of God, I have conducted myself in a way that I will never be ashamed in this industry.”