Acting as occultist doesn’t make me one.
Veteran actor, Kanayo O Kanayo, has made an indelible mark in Nollywood and the story of the film industry cannot be told without according him his pride of place. However, the actor has also had to deal with the impression some people have of him as a ‘ritualist’ because he has played the role of an occultist in movies several times.
During the week, Kanayo, who is also a politician, had uploaded a picture on his Instagram page of the hundredth birthday of Ezinne Anyanwu, the mother of an actor, Chika Anyanwu. One of his young followers then made a comment that he was surprised the old woman had not been used for ‘blood money’ rituals by Kanayo.
While many thought the actor would take offence with the comment, he told Saturday Beats during an interview that things like that did not bother him. he said, “Many of our youths are not focused and they see the social media as a place to get back at some people. The most unfortunate thing is that they abuse the privilege they have. Even people who cannot speak before one now think they have the opportunity to rubbish one. However, those things don’t affect me because if one has got to a particular stage in life, there are people one should not respond to. Whenever anybody posts a comment that I don’t consider to be ‘worthy’, I go to the person’s page to check who they are following and who is following them. Imagine getting to such a page and finding out that the person has only five followers but is following over 10,000 people. Many of these people are irresponsible and their stock-in-trade is to make negative comments on social media. As for me, I don’t join issues with such people.
“Whether we like it or not, this is Africa where we respect seniority, especially when an elder or leader has not brought themselves to a point where they would be insulted. I guess some of these people were raised in places where they don’t know about cultural values.
It is most unfortunate that even when one plays certain roles, some youths cannot distinguish between one and the character. Just because one acted as a criminal on TV, some persons see the actor as a criminal. Meanwhile, an actor has to be flexible. Acting as a ‘ritualist’ does not mean one is a ritualist in real life. Anyway, I see those who think that way as uneducated, uninformed and having complex problems. We need to redefine the word, ‘youth’, in Nigeria. Being a youth does not mean one has to be irresponsible.”
Meanwhile, Kanayo was also recently celebrated by members of his village (Mbaise, Imo State) for being their first lawyer. The actor however said that though he was pleased with the honour, he would not defend any of his kinsmen who was found involved in any illegality. He added, “I feel happy to be the pride of the village. I got the law degree at the age of 58 when many people had even stopped reading. However, I told them the fact that I am a lawyer does not mean they should do anything illegal and expect me to defend them. I would only stand with them as long as they are on the right side of the law.”