Joke Silva is a 61-year-old award-winning Nigerian actress, film director, and businesswoman from Lagos state. She is best known for many of her starring roles in films and TV series in both the English and Yoruba languages.
Despite being born to parents who didn’t have what it takes to carter for a child’s needs, Joke was very fortunate to be adopted by a well-to-do Nigerian family who raised her as one of their own. She grew to become an actress and not just any actress but a star actress who would later get married to a star actor – Olu Jacobs. In all her years as an entertainer, Joke has accomplished a lot both for herself, her family, and the people looking up to her.
She First Knew of Her Adoption as an 8-Year-Old
Joke Silva’s biological parents are unknown because her foster parents adopted her at a very young age. Joke was raised by a Lagos-based family, Chief E. A Silva, a prominent lawyer, and Mrs. Abimbola Silva, a Medical Doctor. Her foster mother, Mrs. Abimbola, was unable to conceive, which led her and her husband to opt for adoption. Even though her foster mother could not give birth during her lifetime, her foster father had four children with another woman. Thus, Joke grew up with them but didn’t know that she was an adopted child until she was 8 years old.
This left her shattered as though she was young; she was also sensitive at the time. While speaking in a tell-all interview at the first Annual Conference of Heritage Adoption Support and Advocacy Group (HASAAG) in Lagos in 2018, Joke Silva spoke about her adoption. She revealed that her paternal aunt told her she was an adopted child when she was 8, after which she asked her mother about it. Being protective, her mother rebutted that her aunt said rubbish. Joke later discovered her adoption certificates when she was about 11 years old and decided not to ask her mother about them anymore.
Unlike Joke, her siblings are not as famous as their actress sister, and as a result, nothing much is known about their careers, family life, and all whatnot. Their mother, Dr. Marienne Abimbola Silva, the third female doctor in Nigeria, died on Sunday, July 19th, 2015, in Lagos at age 89. About four years later, Joke also lost one of her sisters, Bisi Silva, to cancer.
Joke Silva’s Educational Background
Joke Silva attended Holy Child College, Lagos, where she obtained her Senior School Certificate. She thereafter proceeded to the United Kingdom, where she had her A-level studies. While studying abroad at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she was in the same cultural group with Bode Osanyin (a playwright) and Stella Monye (a singer). Perhaps it can be rightfully said that Joke didn’t venture into the entertainment industry by chance; she groomed herself for it.
After completing her studies abroad, she returned to Nigeria and joined the Culture Centre, presently the creative arts department at the University of Lagos. A few years later, she traveled to London to quest for more knowledge in her acting career. Joke then enrolled at the Web Douglas Academy, London, where she studied acting for two years before relocating to Nigeria.
She Began Acting Early in the 1990s
Joke Silva began acting in 1990, with one of her earliest known roles being in the film titled Mind Bending. Three years later, she starred in Owulorojo and continued landing roles in various films and television series until 2004, when she acted in Shylock (2004) and A Past Came Calling (2004).
The year 2006 can be rightfully said to be the beginning of a new dawn for the talented actress as she had her critical success that year, as evidenced by some of the awards she won. In 2008, Joke starred in the film 30 Days. After a few years and some works, she acted alongside Nse Ikpe Etim in Phone Swap (2011). Other notable films the actress has acted in include Diamonds in the Sky (2018), The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2017), and Potato Potahto (2017).
Joke Silva’s Filmography
- Namaste Wahala (2020) as Shola
- Citation (2020) as Angela
- Light in the Dark (2020) as Mama Jumoke
- Weeks in Lagos (2019) as Mrs. Chukwuemeka
- The Set Up (2019) as Mrs. Elesho
- Diamonds in the Sky (2019) as Aisha Dalhatu
- Chief Daddy (2018) as Lady Kay Beecroft
- If I Am President (2018) as Prof. Rekira Waziri
- Kada River (2018) as Grandma Nadia
- Bandits (2018) as Mrs. Doherty
- The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2017) as Augustina
- Potato Potahto (2017) as Mrs. Wilson
- Battleground: Africa Magic (2017 TV Series) as Mama Egba
- Timeless (2017)
- One Fine Day (2015)
- Phone Swap (2012) as Kike Cole
- Bent Arrows (2010) as Mrs. Johnson
- Tango with Me (2010) as Lola’s Mum
- 5 Apostles 1, 2, and 3 (2009)
- Ile oko (2009)
- Sister’s Love 1, 2, 3, and 4 (2007 and 2008)
- Eewo orisa 1and 2 (2007)
- Letters to a Stranger (2007) as Mrs. Okoh
- Strong Men at Work 1 and 2 (2007) as Oriaku
- To Love and to Hold 1 and 2 (2007)
- White Waters (2007)
- The Amazing Grace (2006) as Maria Davies
- 30 Days (2006) as Dupe Ajayi
- Brave Heart 1 and 2 (2005) as Helen
- Opin irin ajo 1 and 2 (2005)
- Women’s Cot 1, 2, and 3 (2005)
- Last Wedding 1 and 2 (2004) as Mrs. Daniel
- The Kingmaker (2003)
- Keeping Faith: Is That Love? (2002)
- Twins of the Rain Forest (1999)
- The Secret Laughter of Women (1999) as Nene
- Silent Night 1 and 2 (1996)
- Violated 1 and 2 (1995 and 1996)
At 61, Joke Silva Has Made Her Mark in the Film Industry
The veteran actress, film producer, and director, Joke Silva has made many landmark achievements in the film industry. The screen diva has gained recognition both in Nigeria and at the international level. She has no doubt built a legacy for upcoming actors in the industry to emulate. She has bagged a couple of awards as a credit to her unarguable talent on the screen. Some of the awards she has bagged include
- EMOTAN Award by the African Independent Television (AIT)
- SOLIDRA Award for the “Best Actress’ at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA in 2006
- Best Supporting Actress at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008
- Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) Order at the International Conference Center in 2014.
Aside from earning awards, Joke Silva has also made solid contributions towards the promotion of Nollywood. She co-founded the ‘Lufodo Group,’ a film production media, where she is the ‘Director of Studies and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, an unconventional school of arts. She is also the pioneer managing director of Malete Film Village, Lagos.
Joke Silva Family Life on the Spotlight
Joke Silva is married to thespian actor Olu Jacobs. The actor-couple got married in 1986 and have remained together since then. Their marriage is 36 years old as of this writing, and they are blessed with two children, Olusoji Jacobs, and Olugbenga Jacobs. For Joke, Silva and her husband’s age is not a barrier, as the couple is nineteen years apart. Joke Silva is 61 years old, while her husband, Olu Jacobs, is 80 years old.
Joke Silva didn’t drop her maiden name after she got married. She still uses the Silva name as her stage name. When asked during an interview, her husband, Olu Jacobs, stated that he met her as an actress who happened to be ‘Miss Joke Silva.’ According to him, her fans recognize her by the name Silva, and he has no reason to take that name from her. He said that his wife is Joke Silva on stage, while she is Joke Jacobs at home. In 2020, the couple celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. However, much is not known about them as their marriage is not in the spotlight.