Ever since she could remember, she had dreamed about being an actress. In her village in Ibadan, south-west Nigeria, on her parent’s farm, she would recite lines from Nollywood films using withered cassava and yam tubers as supporting actors.
Once, her primary school teacher asked her what she was doing after school. Her classmates had sniggered. Some of them pointed to her tattered uniform and rubber slippers that were so worn down they had receded to half their length, revealing her cracked heels.
“Buying another uniform,” someone had twittered, to more sniggering from the class.
She didn’t hear them. In her mind, she was already on her parent’s farm, trying out new lines from a Nollywood film she’d seen at the electrician’s workshop the day before.
In secondary school, the sniggers became louder and crueler. One day, she approached one of her teachers. She wanted to go to Nollywood. Did he know how to get there?
The man had said yes, but first, she had to do something for him. He gave her directions to his house and told her to meet him there after school. Later that day, when she left his house, she was no closer to knowing where Nollywood was, nor how to get there. But her teacher reassured her that he knew, and as long as she kept coming to his house after school, he would help her get there. He also said that he knew other people who had contacts in Nollywood, and she would meet them all in his house.