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Dakore Egbuson-Akande, distinctively living a life of purpose 

Dakore Egbuson-Akande is worth her weight in gold in the Nigerian and indeed African entertainment industry. In over 2 decades she has become a Multiple Award-winning Film/Stage Actor, TV personality, Vocalist/Dancer and Humanitarian.

 Dakore studied Mass Communication (Minor in PR & Advertising)(Print Media Major) at the prestigious University of Lagos.

 She has been a Brand Ambassador for several major brands such as Pampers (P&G) Nigeria, Cow & Gate (Danone Nutricia), Amstel Malta (Nigerian Breweries) and most recently H2O (Pepsi).

 She is the current Ambassador for ActionAid Nigeria an international N.G.O with the aim of sensitizing Nigerians to align with the poor and disadvantaged in society.

 In her humanitarian work, she was the 1st Nigerian actor to be named Ambassador of Amnesty International and OxfamAmerica in the campaign for the control of arms and ammunition. She also partnered with the UN in the campaign for girl-child education and violence against women.

Dakore strongly believes in the arts and media’s ability to provoke, inspire and be a vehicle for change in the world while being no less entertaining.

She hails from Bayelsa state though born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. Dakore is married to Olumide Akande and they are blessed with two beautiful little girls.

Since her 1999 lead debut in Nollywood classic “Silent Tears”, “The Playboy”, “Emotional Crack” Dakore has starred in over 100 films. Her recent blockbuster hit movies are “Fifty” (Netflix) Spinoff” Fifty the series” “Isoken”(2017)“New Money” (2018)she just wrapped on Nigeria’s 1st legal drama series “Castle & Castle” “Yemi’s dilemma” (LosAngeles2017) (short film) official selection Pan African film festival and recently announced at Festival international Pan-African at Cannes France.

She was recently nominated for Best Actress in a leading role for her work in ISOKEN at the AMVCA’s and AMAA 2018

Where it all began

I grew up in a very close knit family that was always full of love, quite sheltered to say the least. As a firstborn, I was raised to set a good example for myself and my four siblings that came behind me. My parents really invested in our education in order to help us follow our dreams. It taught me to be selfless and to think of others and to this day, I strive to push myself to be my best in all I do. It’s a great motivator for me and I channel that through my humanitarian work and in my interaction with others.

Journey into acting

Acting found me in 1998. I was at my second job in my work experience year at Whitewood Group which was a PR/Marketing firm. Prior to this, I was working opposite the street at Casers Advertising. I thought this was a good fit. I was a Client Service executive trainee and I really enjoyed it so I was fairly certain I was on my way in the Ad world. I was fresh out of my Diploma in Mass Communication where I majored in PR/Advertising so that was to be my field of endeavour meanwhile God had other plans. I got fired from my 1st job because I became bored but hadn’t realized it fully yet. Then I got a job as a Sports TV presenter in their newly established TV production arm. They expanded into scripted TV and brought in Emem Isong who saw me running errands for the show and asked me to audition. I did something right and I got the part. The rest is history glory be to God.

Not much has changed in my film making journey. I have always been very drawn to certain stories and with my Mass Communication training, I know film is a very powerful tool so I’m deliberate about my choices to always shine a light on issues that are hidden in the dark in order to start a conversation to change the narrative. What has changed is I have more on my plate as a married mother of two adorable angels while building my career in this social media age. It’s a lot to balance but it’s a huge blessing I don’t take for granted. I’m a very hands on Mom so I value quality time with them especially now that they’re still young (Ayomide, almost 7 and Dasola 4) so it’s really hard to be away from them sometimes when I’m out of the country on set but they understand that Mom has to work and I think it’s great for them to see that as an example.

Balancing work and family

I’m able to balance it with the love and support of my husband Olu, my entire family stepping in at a moment’s notice, kind staff and close friends. It takes a village, your tribe so to speak to be able to step in with the unpredictability of my job and calling as an Actor.

Day you will never forget

The day I lost my best friend at age 9. She died from sickle cell anaemia. I was devastated. It taught me about the brevity and futility of life. That time is precious and fleeting, not to be taken for granted.

Future of Nollywood

I see a blinding bright future for Nollywood but in order for that to happen, we have to put our house in order in terms of creating a proper and lasting structure for the industry. We’ve come so far especially because of technology so technologically we have better sound, lighting, picture quality which was a huge problem back in the day. Now we have a thriving cinema culture, our films are seen all over the world and it has been a huge boost to Nigeria’s image abroad. The industry has created thousands of jobs and is feeding families although things can always be better.

I think we need to allow this industry grow at its own pace. We should work on building our own capacity for storytelling that is compelling and universal without losing our African flavour that makes us unique. Once we can master that, we can use the available technology with the support of the government through proper policies, legal support and enforcement, while also benefiting from private sector funding; we can build an industry Nigeria would be proud of.

Challenges in Nollywood

I would say the lack of medical insurance and proper welfare for industry practitioners across the board.

Consistent in staying relevant

It has been truly by the grace and sustenance of God. It has been a lot of hard work, divine inspiration and preparation, immense love and support from my fans, they really keep me going. I’m truly blessed and extremely grateful.

The Movie Isoken

Isoken is such a special movie and I’m so honoured to have played her. It’s been a gift that keeps on giving as I’m nominated for Best Actress at the AMVCA’s and AMAA this year and several nominations for the film as a whole so it’s a joy to see how her journey blessed our lives. She is a picture of the struggles women go though in our society once they become adults but she also represents a shift in the acceptance of it. It was a joy to play her in all that complexity. I had experienced it in my life personally and the women around me as well. I was able to do it through the brilliant directing and script by Jade Osiberu.

Castle & Castle

In Castle & Castle, which is Nigeria’s 1st legal drama on Ebonylife TV, I play Mrs Remi Castle, who runs a legal practice with her husband Tega Castle played by Richard Mofe Damijo. It was an amazing experience working on it and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

What other things are you involved in?

I’m involved with my humanitarian work with ActionAid Nigeria also I’m working on some content creation projects and my 1st feature film.

Your views on gender equality

Gender equality is important because of the extent of the social conditioning that heavily favours patriarchy. That old system cannot exist anymore so we have to find the middle ground. We have to raise our sons differently to see their sisters as equal not inferior. We need to teach our girls they can be powerful yet respectful of the boys. It’s not a competition but to find co-operation. Even our culture has lots of harmful practices against women that has to be eradicated to level the playing field. I believe there should be a better balance and it is happening whether we like it or not.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m just looking to have and create better opportunities for my career personally and the industry in general. I want to partner more with people that have a similar vision to bring out the beauty of our culture to the rest of the world.

Advice to anyone who desires to be in Nollywood

Don’t come into this industry looking for fame and fortune alone. Do it because you have a genuine talent, love and passion for it. You will experience lots of rejection so you need a strong back bone, Believe in yourself, Have faith in God, stay humble even at the top, stay hungry and keep evolving.

Final words

I just want to thank God for everything and I want to appreciate the support of the media, my family, management and fans over the years and I will keep on pushing to use my art to make the world a better place.

Kemi Ajumobi

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