Saturday, August 17, 2013

I hawked bread, sold egg & pure water to pay my school fees – Comedian Holy Mallam

In a recent interview popular comedian Adebayo Ajiboye a.k.a Holy Mallam shares the story of his rise from grass to grace. Take time to read.

What was your growing up like?
My father was comfortable before I was born. That is why I was named Adebayo, because I was born into joy. We used to stay in Festac town, but after a while, things started changing for us. My father had to sell our house in Festac and we moved to Okoko. He could no longer pay my school fees. In fact, I was hawking bread, and sometimes my classmates would see me on the streets and laughed at me. It really affected my self- esteem and brought me face to face with the true meaning of embarrassment and intimidation. I also sold eggs and pure water to make ends meet. There were times we lost the respect people had for my family.

When we relocated to Okoko, I saw life from a different perspective. I understood the intensity of embarrassment as a child, and I'd never like to experience it again. I still feel the shock and grave shyness that was part of me then. But it's not as bad as it used to be in the past. In fact, it got to a point in my life where I indulged in evaluating myself and discovered what I'm worth.

Tell us more about the challenges you have faced while on your journey to stardom?
There were times I even considered suicide because of how difficult things were. I have been through a lot of things in life and I am just trying to encourage people that because you are going through challenges, does not mean that God hates you or you are about to die. I suffered a lot. There were times people told me they did not think I would go far in life. There were times we had only garri at home without sugar. We were not allowed to buy things on credit, my mum would kill us.

Sometimes, I would buy dry soya beans, mix it with garri, and eat it dry. We did not have a television. In fact, by the time I started appearing on television, I had to leave my house with the permission of my mother to watch myself on television. I started appearing on television in 2001. I used to appear on 'Humor on Ice' and get paid N2000 per week. When I was writing my GCE, I would go from Okoko to Ajegunle in my red bathroom slippers. Even in poverty, I still loved red.

When did you finally had your big break?
I was an undergraduate at Lagos State University. The Foursquare Campus Fellowship, then led by Pastor Seyi Jaiyeola organized an event at the LASU car park. One of my Church members knew the pastor, so she introduced me to him. He auditioned me for about five minutes before he gave me the opportunity. I spent about seventeen minutes on stage. It was explosive. From then on, I began to get a lot of invitations to different churches, fellowships and events. There was a particular night vigil where I worked as the Master of Ceremonies and got paid N500.

N500 in one night! I was so excited. There was a time when I worked as a teacher and got paid N500 in a month, but as an entertainer, I got it in one night. The money was given to me in N5 and N10 denominations. I did not want to lose it, so, i made sure I stayed awake in the bus on my way home. There was also another event I went for where I was given N1,000 and a chicken lap. I took the chicken home, and my siblings and I used it to cook stew. We all had that chicken for dinner. I also met someone who introduced me to a programme on NTA where I did about 26 episodes and got paid per episode. That was when people around the country started knowing Holy Mallam. It was during that time I did an event for Nestle in Ibadan and Lagos. I was paid about N60, 000.

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