It was about five or six years ago. I was still a rookie in journalism, but my zeal and work rate knew no bound. I could go to the den of the lion to get an interview or story. And it was that zeal that drove me after Rita Dominic who was among the three most-sought-after actresses at that time.
She gave me an appointment at Lekki and I went with a photographer. It would have been a big sin to meet the beautiful actress without taking photographs. We met her at a location and had to do an on and off interview amidst little break from shooting that dragged on to the wee hours of the night. My photographer, Olamitunde James pronged me to call it a day, but my zeal wouldn’t allow me.
How could I allow nightfall spoil a beautiful day? After the interview (which was not concluded) it finally dawned on me that there was no place to go. We were pondering and my photographer was bashing me with all imaginable blames for being insensitive to the female gender. She even wondered aloud how much my salary was to warrant my ‘unreasonable zeal’. I was at a dilemma.
That was when the milk of Rita’s kindness overflew toward us. She apologised for the inconvenience and offered to give us money for taxi which I rejected. I still couldn’t bring myself to collecting money from actors and actresses. Moreover, I’ve always thought of myself as a rich man.
So, how could you be offering a rich man transport fare? When she saw that I wasn’t bulging and still confused on how to leave the location after every crew member had left, Rita then offered us the unexpected gift. She said: ‘I don’t live too far from here, shey, you will come and sleep in my house?’ That was a shock to me.
If you’ve related with actors and actresses like I’ve done, you will know that they try everything possible to keep their houses off-limit to journalists, especially a rookie as me. My heart longed to go to her house, but my photographer was not too enthusiastic about it. Since I had denied her the opportunity of doing her wish by leaving early I was also bound by her scepticism. We eventually reached a compromised and I told Rita that we would lodge in a nearby hotel. That was a lie because we eventually headed for the dreaded Kuramo Beach where the underworld boys stole my princely sum of N3,000 which was my monthly take home then.
I met Rita the following day at the same location and we wrapped up our interview, of course, without my photographer who left me to my ‘reprobate mind’ (just like my editor at the moment is about to do). I left the venue of that interview early, but the impression Rita left on me is still there. We met severally after that and each time, she remained her kind self and a loving friend. Even when my zeal pushed me to write something not too complimentary about her, she would still pick my calls when I needed to speak to her.
That milk of human kindness is waxing strong by the day in Rita and she recently demonstrated that on her trip to Malawi where she had gone to meet the fans that voted on Africa Magic that she was their favourite star. She was to go and wave to the crowd. But her kind heart demanded for more and she made a request to visit an orphanage and DSTV graciously accended to her request. She made the visit to The Chambo Children’s Home in Blayntyre and gave them her wide smile and gift. That spurred the DSTV to action and they gave the orphanage home a decoder and subscription that would last a life time.
Even if some us refused to see Rita beyond the stylish Nollywood actress and lens of camera, those children in Malawi orphanage home will do otherwise. They would remember and know that the personalisty behind Rita Dominic is beyond the razzmatazz of Nollywood, she is a heart full of human kindness.