He is Hafiz Oyetoro but to his fans, he is Saka. In this interview, the popular actor and his wife, Olaide, relive the experience of their 10-year-old marriage
How did you meet?
Hafiz: She was a final year student of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education while I was a lecturer in the school. The first time I saw her, she had come to the school to submit her final year project. I was with a friend of mine who knew her. I just told my friend that I would love to meet the lady and he facilitated a meeting between us.
Olaide: I believe it is God that brought us together. When he approached me at first, I declined his request but afterwards, I discovered that he is a good man, very religious and well behaved
How long did it take before you got married?
Hafiz: It took me almost a year. I was ready but she was not. She gave me a tough time for almost six months before she finally accepted. As a matter of fact, my friend had to persuade her to accept my proposal.
Olaide: I would not say I gave him a tough time. What I did was that I took time to study him. We are well brought up in our house and we don’t jump into marriage anyhow.
How did he propose?
Olaide: He said, “I want to marry you.’’ There were no flowers or candles. When he proposed, I told him I was not ready for marriage and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to pursue a degree programme; he accepted and even bought me the entry form.
Hafiz: She had said no at first but when my friend intervened, she took me to her guardian.
Before him did you have other suitors?
Olaide: Yes, but I am a devout Muslim. I did not accept proposals from those other suitors because I wanted to marry Hafiz.
You said earlier that a woman refused to marry you because you did not have a car?
Hafiz: Yes. It was after my master’s degree programme and there was no money. I was just an average artiste, struggling to survive, but the lady did not see the future. I remember telling her that I was ready for marriage. Her reply was that I was not ready because I did not have a car. I told her that with my job, I should be able to get a very comfortable car within a year. She insisted that one car would not be sufficient since she was going to be pregnant one day. That was when I knew that in order to get married to her; I had to have two cars first.
Why did you marry him when he did not have a car?
Olaide: I did not marry him because of material things. I married him because of the love I have for him.
Hafiz: I have never had any regrets about marrying Laide. It has been from one level of progress to the other. I thank God for giving me the grace to meet her. I married her into a room and parlour apartment before we moved into the college staff quarters. Very soon, by the grace of God, we will move into our personal home. It has been very rewarding.
What is the most interesting thing about your husband?
Olaide: Everything about him is interesting. I believe women should pray very well before getting into marriage. It is God that chooses for people and He is the one who chose Hafiz for me.
What is the most annoying thing you have ever done to each other?
Olaide: Sometimes, he gets angry and storms out of the house. At such times, I will stay in the room and pray for God to take control.
Hafiz: She is a little stubborn. Sometimes, I would express my dislike for certain things but as a woman, she would want to prove a point. At such times, I would walk out of the house because I love her. I would have to go out so that my anger can burn itself out. I would not want to say something hurting that I would have to regret later on. She has been there and taking care of my house. I cannot stay back home and say painful things because of a little misunderstanding.
What is the most romantic gesture you have shown towards each other?
Olaide: Everything he does is romantic. He sings for me sometimes.
Hafiz: I just compose songs. I am not a good singer actually. When I know that I have offended her, I would sing her a song with my crooked voice. It has been fun actually, whether in anger or merriment. If we don’t have misunderstandings, the marriage would not be realistic. Most of the misunderstandings we have in the house are everyday friendly disagreements.
Are you a Saka fan?
Olaide: Yes. I am. When he started acting, I loved watching him on the screen.
Hafiz: She appreciates the work of art. She is a graduate of mathematics and I am amazed at the chemistry between us. I have to commend her because she sacrificed a lot for the family. As a graduate of mathematics, instead of going to teach in secondary school, she had to resign and settle down to take care of the home because I am not always around. Our plan is that when the children have grown, she can go back to teaching. Maybe we will build our own school.
Your husband ‘ported’ from poverty to a comfortable living, how is that affecting you?
Olaide: I don’t think he was ever poor because poverty is a mindset. He was not as rich as this but one has to reach a phase in life. The extra money has brought positive changes to my business. I thank God for giving him to me.
Now that you are rich, as a Muslim, would you want to marry a second wife?
Hafiz: No. It is too late for me to marry another wife. At 50, what else would I be looking for? I have three children, I have my job and my wife is still young. If I marry another one now, that means I want to die, I cannot cope with the stress.
How are you coping with attention from female fans?
Hafiz: I am not a particularly attractive person outside the screen. Most of my fans love Saka, not Hafiz. When they meet Hafiz, they are disappointed; Hafiz and Saka are two different personalities.
What price do you have to pay for fame?
Hafiz: Fame affects my freedom. I am naturally simple; I would love to live my life without being too conscious of what people would say. But these days, my personal assistants and managers and sometimes, my lawyer would follow me to certain places and try to hide me from people. Also, some people harass me to get money. If I go out, I don’t spend anything less than N5000 just tipping people. Sometimes, I give people N1000 and they will complain that it is too small. They would abuse me and consider me to be snobbish or stingy. I have to be realistic and not give people money every day, otherwise, I will be broke. What I am trying to do now is to give people who are really in need. That is more productive than showing off by giving money to people who run after me.
What pet names do you have for each other?
Olaide: I call him Oye, which is the short form of his name.
Hafiz: I call her Olomi.