Saturday 4 September 2021

Rachel Oniga as victim of inadequate career documentation?

AS Nollywood actress, Rachel Oniga (May 23, 1957-July 30, 2021) was buried last week, her career, which, coincidentally, shared the same birth period with the digital generation of Nigerian film industry, is worth a critical reflection.

The family of the late actress had, few weeks ago, announced August 27 as burial date.

One of the most complex fields of the Nigerian film industry is documenting, adequately, events, particularly, of the Nolywood era. Oniga appeared like another victim of inadequate career documentation.

Widely reported Out of Bounds (1997) as Oniga’s debut film may not be adequately representative of the actress’ entry point. Oniga, sometimes in 1993. was seen at a casting event of film by Dr Ola Makinwa, the director of a proposed project.

It was doubtfull if an actress of such a rare talent as Oniga, at a period when the energy of Nollywood was on strong emerging steam, would need to stay for another four years to make her debut film acting. Quite a number of films released in the euphoria of digital age of the early 1990s Nigerian fim industry were either not well promoted or documented in publicity. One of such films not documented, most likely featiured Oniga.

However, if truly, Out of Bounds was Oniga’s debut film acting credit, something must have gone wrong between 1993 and 1996/97. Did she take a break so soon to attend to private needs?

Born and raised in Lagos, where, most likely, she picked her fluency in Yoruba language, Oniga left a legacy of acting as one of the highly gifted in speech art.

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