Toyin Tomato opens up on her experience with starting over in UK as a caregiver


Actress Sola Sobowale arrives at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of "The Wedding Party" at The Elgin on September 8, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Fiery Nollywood actress Sola Sobowale, aka ‘Toyin Tomato’, has opened up about her experience with starting all over again in the United Kingdom as a caregiver.

The seasoned actress, who recently told her story on Teju Babyface’s King of Talks podcast, also disclosed the reason behind her 2004–2016 departure from Nigeria.

When the host of the show questioned her about why she described herself as “elevated omo odo,” which is roughly translated as “a glorified servant,” the gifted actress narrated the story as someone who had faced many challenges in life before being fortunate enough to have overcome them all.

“When I started this ‘elevated omo odo’ thing, I started from the grassroots. Then, I went to the college. I got my NVQ 2,3,4, to become a team leader. When I started work in that office, there were Nigerians, Jamaicans, and Ghanaians, and all of them knew Sola Sobowale. But it was confusing because my tag read ‘Olu,’ and not Olusola,” she began.

The actress emphasized that, at the time, she firmly believed in the dignity of labor and went above and above to provide for her family’s needs, including paying her expenses.

Sola also recounted a moment when she was recognized by Eye Fadipe, a Nigerian colleague who asked her why she had left stardom behind to start afresh.

“He looked at me and said ‘Are you crazy?’ I said I am not crazy. He asked ‘What are you doing? You are up there in Nigeria,'” she said. “But there was something better than that. My future. My children are my future. There will be a time when the energy will no longer be there. Then it is what you sow that you reap.”

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She also revealed the difficulties she faced after she relocated to the United Kingdom to start all over again as a caregiver in a system that is very tough for many.

“It was not easy starting all over, because in this place, only the tough will last. If one is lazy, one will be hungry. People who have been here for 20 to 50 years don’t find it easy, because with the kind of system they have, one cannot avoid paying bills. If one does not work, one won’t eat, and one won’t be able to pay bills,” she added.

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