Joke Silva (born 29 September 1961) is a Nigerian actress, director, and businesswoman.
A graduate of the University of Lagos and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She began a career in film in the early 1990s. In 1998 she had a major role starred opposite Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film The Secret Laughter of Women. In 2006 she won “Best Actress in a Leading Role” at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her performance in Women’s Cot, and “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” at the 4th Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008 for her performance as a grandmother in White Waters.
Silva is married to actor Olu Jacobs. The couple founded and operate the Lufodo Group covering film production and distribution assets and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, where she is Director of Studies. She is also the pioneering managing director of Malete Film Village, in association with Kwara State University. On 29 September 2014, Silva received recognition as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria’s National Honours Awards, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
Early Life: Silva was born in Lagos into an Amaro family of four children. Her mother, Adebimbola Silva, a pioneering doctor, died in July 2015. Her father was a lawyer. She attended Holy Child College in Lagos. At university, she was part of a cultural group that included the playwright Bode Osanyin and the singer Stella Monye. Silva took a year off from her studies, during which time she began working as an actress. Silva then relocated to England, studying drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Initially, her parents were opposed to Silva’s decision to go into the theatre but they soon began to support her, happy at the success she made of her career. During a slow period of her career, she returned to school, studying English at the University of Lagos.
Achievements: In 2006, Silva was awarded the “Best Actress in a Leading Role” at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her role in Women’s Cot. Later that year, Silva starred opposite Genevieve Nnaji in Mildred Okwo’s action thriller 30 Days, which received 10 nominations at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008. She also narrated for Jeta Amata’s Anglo-Nigerian production The Amazing Grace, which was shot in Calabar. The film was lauded by the critics and was nominated for 11 African Movie Academy Awards. The News noted Silva’s “song-like voice,
provides insight into the actions”.
In 2007, Silva starred opposite Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Michael Okon and Fred Essien in Ndubuisi Okoh’s To Love and to Hold. Silva won Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for her “methodical portrayal of a grandmother” in White Waters (2007), though she was not at the ceremony to receive her award in person. In a November 2008 interview, Silva professed that “whenever she had to play an evil character in a film, she would pray and use Jesus as her ‘hedge'”. Silva is also the recipient of an EMOTAN Award from African Independent Television (AIT) and the SOLIDRA Award for Visual Art.
In 2011, Silva starred alongside Nse Ikpe Etim, Wale Ojo and Lydia Forson in Kunle Afolayan’s romantic comedy Phone Swap. Lauded by the critics, and one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year, it received four nominations at the 8th Africa Movie Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Nigerian Film. It also won the award for Achievement in Production Design. In 2013, Silva took to the stage to appear in the Thespian Family Theatre and Productions staging of the “Mad King of Ijudiya” at the Agip Hall of Muson Centre of Lagos at Christmas. Two shows were put on at 3 pm and 6 pm on 21, 22, 28 and 29 December, which Vanguard described as a “rich blend of folklore, traditional dance, and music that naturally transports the audience to a typical African village setting”. In October 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime appointed Joke Silva a goodwill ambassador and On 29 September 2014, Silva was honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria’s national awards, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. In September 2016 she was unveiled as the brand ambassador for AIICO Pension Managers Limited (APML).