Nollywood veteran, Sola Sobowale’s journey from ‘Toyin Tomato’ to caregiver in London

Sola Sobowale, a veteran in Nigeria’s Nollywood movie industry, has recounted her ordeal while working as a caregiver in London, England.

The 58-year-old actress, noted for her acting prowess in movie scenes, made the revelation during her interview on the ‘Teju Baby Face Show’ on Tuesday.

The thespian said she left Nigeria in 2004 and returned 12 years after for the audition of a movie.

While the show host asked why she referred to herself as ‘elevated omo odo,’ literally meaning ‘a glorified servant,’ the talented actress gave the narration in the form of a person who, after facing the struggles of life in many forms, was then fortunate to have conquered all obstacles.

She said, “Oh yes. It was after Toyin Tomato – Super Story that I left (for London). I left Nigeria totally in 2004 and I didn’t come back until I came for the audition of the Wedding Party in 2016.”

After featuring in the popular television drama series, ‘Toyin Tomato’ in the early 2000s; the popular actress took some time off the screens and decided to work in an unrelated role in London.

“When I started work in that office, there were Nigerians, Jamaicans, Ghanaians, and all of them know Sola Sobowale. But it was confusing because my tag read ‘Olu,’ and not Olusola,” the award-winning actress stated.

She recalled how a Nigerian man (Seye Fadipe) had walked up to her and said she looked familiar, but she refuted it. However, at a later time, the man advised her to return to acting after she had admitted that she was the same ‘Sola Sobowale’ he used to see on the TV.

Sobowale said, at that time, she worked as a caregiver, saying she would “wash, carry, clean…you’ll do everything. That was what I was doing,” adding that she would later obtain her National Vocational Qualification certificate levels 2, 3 and 4, up to the level of a team lead.


Speaking further, the veteran actress noted that “there’ll be a time that the noise, the energy that Sola Sobowale had” will be no more.

The actress stated, “When I started this ‘elevated omo odo’ thing, I started from the grassroots. Then, I went to the college. I got my NVQ 2,3,4, to a team leader.

“I believe in dignity in labour. There’s no job I won’t do to put food on my table, to provide for my children, except prostitution and fraud.”

When further asked how she managed to conceive and implement an upcoming movie project in the Indian movie industry – Bollywood, she said, “It’s the grace of God. When you’ve grace, you have everything, and that’s what has been working for me.”

She recalled that she struck up a movie project with an Indian lady (Amsha) when the popular movie streaming platform, Netflix, first came to Nigeria.

The host, Teju, featured alongside Sobowale, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Bukky Wright, among others in a 1998 thriller movie directed by Tade Ogidan, titled ‘Diamond Ring.’

Another Nollywood actress, Doris Simeon, had said she was not ashamed of doing menial jobs in the United States of America, because she needed to pay her bills.

Simon said, “It was not easy starting all over, because in this place, only the tough will last. If one is lazy, one will be hungry. People who have been here for 20 to 50 years don’t find it easy, because with the kind of system they have, one cannot avoid paying bills. If one does not work, one won’t eat, and one won’t be able to pay bills.”


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