For those who do not really know, who is Hilda Dokubo?
(Smiles) – That’s the most difficult question that I’ve always had to answer. To me, Hilda is a simple, down to earth, very unassuming, such a workaholic, peaceful and peace-loving lady.
What a beautiful description!
(Now laughing profusely) But sebi na you ask me now!
Okay. Tell us about your family.
My father – Edmund – is late. He’s from Buguma, Rivers State. My mother – Stella – is from Umuahia, Abia State. I’m the first of six children. Three boys and three girls.
What was your childhood like?
Oh! I was very restless as a child. More of a tomboy. A daddy’s girl. I just guess I was like every little intelligent and inquisitive child.
Now, tell us more about Isosia, your son.
He is a son born out of childish love. He is a love child. Two people fell in love in school, they had a child and that was it. Isosia, I want to tell you, is my motivator today. I draw strength knowing that there is somebody to take care of. Isosia is my miracle, my biggest gift. He is the biggest gift that I have ever received from God. I love him so much.
Isosia must be happy to read that mummy loves him this much (general laughter). How was it coping as a single mum?
Isosia made me an adult even when I was still a child myself. I became 10-20 years older than my real age because of him. I had to grow up for him. It hadn’t been easy rearing him, both with or without his father.
Has his father been helping out in any way?
I already told you I won’t talk about that.
What about your parents. How did they take your taking in out of wedlock?
They saw it as one of those things. Childish love and its consequences.
How old were you then?
Did you ever toy with the idea of aborting the baby or…
(Cuts in) My background couldn’t have permitted that. I come from a very strong Christian home. That’s one. Secondly, I was too naïve then to have thought about abortion. I knew nothing about terminating pregnancies. I had no elder sister to advise me and again my age, 17, was too innocent for such stuff then. For my age then, abortion was scary. And I didn’t want to die after all that I had heard about it. So, I had no other choice but to keep the baby.
If it were now, would you have aborted him?
How did you get into acting?
First, I started as a presenter with NTA, Port Harcourt. I handled Young Brains, a kiddies’ programme. This was in the late 70’s. I started acting as a part-time affair while in form 2 with the Rivers State Council of Arts and Culture. The first play I ever did fetched me a gold gong. The title is Ebejigba. From there I kept working and when I was in form 5, they needed more people at RSTV and somehow I was moved. So, I became their first continuity announcer/news-caster. Meanwhile, I was also supposed to be in the National Troupe at about same time, but it coincided with when my result just came out. And I now had to go to the University of Port Harcourt to read Theatre Arts and since then, I haven’t looked back. With all these, you can now see that I started as a presenter, then a dancer, singer and today, I am an actress.
Beautiful. So, what can you say about the industry today?
We are growing. Notwithstanding the fact that we did not start with a very good foundation. Artistically, we have improved. Technically, I don’t know whether we are going backwards because I can’t seem to see it. Financially, we have improved because a lot of us now can afford to buy too many things unlike before.
What is your own definition of acting?
My own definition of acting is a re-enactment of life.
Which of you roles, by your own judgment, are your best and worst so far?
I don’t know about my worst. I have three bests – Forever, Goodbye Tomorrow and Fatal Desire.
Why those three?
Three of them had distinct characters and the characters were growing at every stage. Never flat. The three of them gave me some kind of joy, some kind of satisfaction that I had done good jobs. They were outstanding. And for me, every job that I’ve done has been challenging.
Which of your jobs so far are your lowest and highest paid?
The lowest that I’ve ever collected was N60 in 1983 for a stage performance – Isiburu. And that’s what we used to get in those days.
I won’t mention the production. It won’t be fair on the producer.
Hilda Dokubo, of course (general laughter).
You went into directing not too long. What could have prompted that?
First of all, I trained as a stage director in school. And having worked with a lot of directors in a lot of movies, I knew something had to be added. Therefore, since I have the ability to add that and also impart knowledge, which is basically what directing is all about, I had no other option. Directing is basically being able to impart information to aid the performer.
Who do you look up to as role models?
My models plenty o! (laughs). The first person is God. Followed by all female activists and intellectuals. Wha oooh!
Since you love these female activists this much, why have you not joined CLO, JACON,etc?
You are getting it all wrong. I’m an activist in this light: I stand for anything that depicts justice. Anything that depicts injustice, I detest vehemently.
What does Hilda hate about herself?
Presently, nothing. But originally, I used to hate my temper. I used to be quick to anger. I’ve lost that ability to be angry. I’m now at peace with myself.
Can anything make you cry or has anything made you cry?
(Thinks) Children. If I see a child in a terrible condition, I cry. Cheating. I don’t like cheats. Lies. I don’t like liars.
What are your regrets?
Happiest and saddest days?
Every day is happy for me, so I don’t see any as my happiest or saddest.
Which car or brand of car do you fancy most?
I don’t have any brand as my favourite, but I fancy jeeps. I like jeeps a lot.
What about colours?
Peach and blue.
Which brands of music trip you most?
Highlife and classical.
What message do you have for your fans?
I want them to keep being themselves, let them always pray for us, see us as regular human beings, not super-human, people who are capable of making mistakes too, and as such have enough spaces in their hearts to love and forgive. I wish them the very best in all they do.