Veteran actress Zainab Bukky Ajayi was born a Christian but she converted to Islam in the early eighties and chose the name Zainab.
She became interested in acting as a child as her father took her to the cinemas, and always told him she was going to be an actress like one of those she always saw in the movies, though he didn’t live to see that dream come true. With growing interest for theatre, young Bukky began making a cardboard cinema for children and would charge them half a penny to watch it.
She studied in England for six years under a Federal Government Scholarship, and when she returned in 1965, she worked as a presentation assistant with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). She rose to become a presenter and then a news reader.
During her time as a presenter, she anchored a couple of children’s programmes. She also presented Nigerian’s Sketches, a programme which was all about Nigerian culture, produced by late Diran Ajijedidun.
When Joke Silva, Rita Dominic and others visited late Bukky Ajayi
She started out her acting career with the Village Headmaster in the 70s, and later got a role in Amaka Igwe’s Checkmate. Some of her popular movies include Mother of George, Indecent Girl, Diamond Ring, Witches, Thunderbolt, amongst others.
She is the mother of Olakunle Fawole (a.k.a Abounce), a veteran rapper, music producer and actor. Abounce has featured in films like Diamond Ring, Apostle Kasali, Cash Money, and more.
One of her last public appearances was at the 2016 African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, AMVCA, when she won the Industry Merit award.
Bukky died on Wednesday, July 6, after battling with cancer for some years. She was aged 82.
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