Born and raised in Adegbola village in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo state, Hafiz Oyetoro popularly known as Saka has been able to walk himself into fame and fortune. Saka became famous for his roles in sitcom, House A-part and promotional video for Etisalat but became a household after he ‘ported’ to MTN. A lecturer, actor, father and husband, Saka says his audience is yet to see his best. He spoke to Movie Moments on his life, wife and career.
Congratulations on the celebration of your 50th birthday, how do you feel now?
I feel honored and at the same I am
grateful to Almighty Allah for preserving me from to my very tender age till now; most importantly, I want to appreciate my parents because I believe without them, I am nobody. I am happy, glad and at the same time fulfilled for all that have been happening in life. I may look petite in size but I am old o!
Did you ever believe you will be this famous in life?
Everybody aspires to be famous and well known positively and for me I wouldn’t say I have known that I will be this famous but rather by nature and with the kind of characters I put up while growing up, I knew my stubbornness made me popular in my area and so been famous was nothing new to me.
Fans and people see you as a super star, this is contrary to the way you perceive yourself. Why is this so?
I still have a long way to go. You know I am a lecturer, a simple civil servant who is trying to make it in the entertainment industry. I only practice what I teach as a lecturer in Theatre Arts at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education. I practice a little bit of it outside in order to enhance my teaching methodology. I still have a long way to go. I am still pursuing a Ph.D programme. I am not as popular as you are portraying me.
But this day, everyone wants you to feature in their productions, especially adverts. So, don’t you think you are qualified to be regarded as a star?
As far as that is concerned, to God be the glory. It is the grace of God. It is not me but the grace of God. There are still other people better than I who have not received that grace and I pray for such people too. As you are talking to me, you are a superstar. Once you are able to do things in your own field very well, you are a superstar, it is just in Nigeria that we give some special emphasis to some people. Once you are able to do what you are doing very well and you are known for it, then you are a superstar. But for me, I am still struggling and striving.
How are you coping with your rising status?
I am an average Nigerian, a simple average lecturer who goes about in my small car and it doesn’t take so much from me, unlike the superstar who will hide and hide. I go where I go now without policemen escorting me. Like I told you, I am still moving up. Maybe when I become the so-called superstar, I will need all those things. But to the glory of God, I am growing; things are working well for me. I am teaching well. I am super in what I teach. I thank God for that.
Do you intend crossing to the university as a lecturer later?
For now, I am satisfied where I am. The essence of getting more knowledge is to be able to add more value to your immediate environment. If Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, where I teach now, gives me the opportunity to go and learn more, when I come back, I think it is my responsibility to first and foremost add more value to the college that has done so much for me. I will like to come back and add more value to the community that has brought me up.
How has life been like after porting to MTN Nigeria?
I will not want to say much about that for now; but all I can say is that everything is fine and cool over there and I’m enjoying every bit of it. I don’t want to say much about it but when the time is actually ripe for it I will definitely let the whole world know.
Did you see the MTN endorsement deal coming real quick as it came?
Journalist and their antics to squeeze words from you; well all I want to say is that when you are good people appreciate you the more and as such my endorsement deal with MTN I want to say is God’s way of making me happy and feel appreciated by people whom you don’t know having been watching you for so long.
In a recent chat you talked so much about how poverty dealt with you, how is life now?
Alhamdulillah, level don they change. Let me put it like that. I believe that in the nearest future, level will finally change. But for now, level don dey change. I have murdered poverty and God in his infinite mercy murdered poverty for me.
What do you mean by level don dey change?
It takes so long to be satisfied with what you want in life. Even the Dangotes of this world are still looking for more level to change. Unlike before, I was not married, I did not have children, I really struggled as a student but today, I am married, I have a job as a lecturer, I have about three degrees and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D programme. That means that level don dey change. I have murdered poverty and God has finally murdered it for me. I am no longer poor, but very comfortable.
Talking about that stage name “Saka” how did you come about it?
I could remember vividly in 2003 when my blossom friend Gbenga Windapo and I created a TV series titled House A-part which was produced by Greg and Debbie Odutayo. I played the role Saka in the TV series and ever since then the name stuck like a second skin on me.
How do you handle funny characters from the real individual?
It is only when one does not realize his or her role in the society that they begin to mingle their roles. For me, I know the role I am playing on TV and the role I am playing as a person. The role I play makes people laugh. As a lecturer, when I am in class, my students see me as such. It depends on how one manages his person and the role he plays. As a professional theatre person, I was trained under the tutorship of lecturers that are capable of changing people from one role to another. One of them is Chuck Mike who trained me as an actor and as a Theatre Director. I know the role I am playing at every point in time. When I go for serious business, you see a serious Hafiz, when I go for comedy roles on TV, you see a comic character, when I come home, and you see a father and a loving husband of his wife
How many children do you have?
I have three children. I got married late, when I was almost forty years. My children are still very young. I thank God for their lives. They are doing well, they are healthy and they are performing