HomeBioJoke Silva Biography: Net worth, Acting career, Olu Jacobs, and Disguised Polygamy

Joke Silva Biography: Net worth, Acting career, Olu Jacobs, and Disguised Polygamy

Anthropologically, polygamy is a marriage between one person and two or more spouses simultaneously. In Chief Daddy, featuring Joke Silva as Lady K, the protagonist could be said to have practised disguised polygamy: a marriage to a legal wife and two or more women who are not known to the legal wife until the death of ‘their’ husband.

In the 2018 movie, Lady K only realizes her billionaire husband’s level of infidelity after his untimely demise. Other ladies swoon in, claiming to be Chief Beecroft’s wives.

The producer, Ebony Life, explored the storyline of Chief Daddy in such a way as to elicit laughter but not trivialise the experience of real-life people that are facing the same thing.  

“I’m glad it was approached from the comic angle because it is the kind of thing that will rip your heart to pieces,” Joke Silva said.

“For Lady K, was not the character that was laughing in the film because she was the one in front of the headlines. She was the one getting all the punches all the time.”

Joke Silva’s character in the movie is well-translated. The emotion, reactions, and dialogues are delivered seamlessly. And one wonders if there’s a connection between Joke Silva and Lady k.

“No matter how much I love him, I will not take that,” she said.

Are you listening, Olu Jacobs?

Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva

We present Joke Silva’s biography.

How old is Joke Silva?

Joke Silva’s age is 61. She was born on September 29th, 1961, in Lagos. As a child, she wanted to be everything from wanting to be a nurse to a doctor, a lawyer, and a teacher. Acting wasn’t even in the fray.

“I wanted to be everything under the sun,” she said.

“But there came a crucial time in my life; that was in my late teens when I needed to understand what direction I was going.”

Her parents brought her up to ask the Lord questions whenever she was at a crossroads.

“So, I went to the Lord with my questions concerning what direction I should follow in life,” she said.

“When I was studying for my A’ Level Certificate, I got offers from the universities to study medicine. I also got offers to study Theatre Arts if I passed my A’ Level examinations. So, it was a bit confusing for me. I took it to the Lord in prayers. He was faithful as I knew exactly where He wanted me to be, and I haven’t moved away from that path.”

Unlike God, her parents didn’t exactly know she’ll end up in the world of make-believe.

“I’m not sure that my parents thought I would be an actress,” she said.

“But they knew it was a talent I had, and so, they encouraged it. That I became an actress was no surprise to anybody who knew when I was younger.”

Now that we have spoken about them let’s meet her parents.

Joke Silva: Aging gracefully

Joke Silva’s Parents

Her father, Chief Emmanuel Afolabi Silva, was a lawyer. Joke Silva’s great-grandfathers, Charles Phillips and Samuel Herbert Pearse, were prominent Nigerians during the colonial era. Her mother, Mrs Adebimbola Silva, was a medical doctor. She died in July 2015.


Joke Silva: Education

Joke Silva’s primary school is unknown. She, however, attended Holy Child College, Obalende, Lagos. After secondary school, she expressed her desire to pursue acting on a full-time basis. Her parents told her to take a year off to ensure she wanted to pursue that career path.

It turned out to be an exciting but busy year for her as she was preoccupied with acting roles on stage, on television, and on the radio.

“The journey wasn’t easy. I was working all the time, almost round the clock,” she said.

She spent most of her time at the Victoria Island office of the Nigerian Television Authority doing her television recordings at night into the early hours of the morning.

“From there, I would rush home and take a bath. Sleep if I had time and probably dash to the radio for radio plays and then dash to the national theatre to rehearse for a play. There was a lot of work.”

Her parents finally gave her the nod to continue formal education in her chosen field after realizing acting was what she truly wanted to pursue. She relocated to England and enrolled in the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

“I was blessed with the parents I had,” she said.

“When I showed a passion for it, they encouraged it. They encouraged me by grooming my talent –(though) more as a hobby than a profession.”


Joke Silva’s Acting Career

While still in drama school, Joke Silva got random jobs during the holidays. Occasionally, she took part in some BBC radio plays. In her final year, she got a role in a play at the Royal Court theatre.

She returned to Nigeria after her studies in England. And gradually, acting roles stopped coming her way. As the industry transitioned from celluloid to video, jobs on television dried up.

“This work dried up o,” she said.

“It wasn’t funny! It was like… What am I saying, I think it was around ’87 onwards to the early 2000s. There was a period when everything just dried, and I am like ‘father Lord, what’s this?”

That was when she decided to go back to school. Joke Silva enrolled in the University of Lagos for a Bachelor’s degree in English. On the home front, she had just had her first child and was expecting the second.

If she had delayed for a few days, she wouldn’t have enrolled at Unilag because jobs started coming just after she did.

“I never got to use the certificate I got from it till about three years ago. Yeah, that was when I went to collect it,” she said.

Joke Silva in Sister’s Nemesis

Joke Silva shot into the limelight with her role in the long-rested TV soap Mirror in the Sun, which debuted in the mid-80s. Mind Bending, an English movie that was released in 1990, was one of her earliest films.

Two movies, however, made her a hit in Nollywood. The 1993 movie Owulorojo by SJ Productions introduced her to the Yoruba movie audience, while Violated, released in 1995, did the same trick with English viewers.

She has since starred in many movies over the years. But there was a time she wasn’t in the good books of the powers that be in Nollywood.

“Years ago, we did this film. That was the time the marketers were getting involved in movies,” she said.

“This marketer came to our house. We were living in Ikeja at the time and brought money for myself and my husband to come on this film that they had already started shooting. And he wanted us to play the parents of the star of the film, and we decided to do it. It was Fred Amata who directed at the time.

“We started shooting, and things were going a bit rocky until one day, we were waiting for the lead actress. They told us we had to be on location by eight in the morning. And we got to the location on time. We are never late. We got dressed, and we were waiting. We were waiting till four in the afternoon.

“When the marketer then brings the star along to the location, I turned around, and I looked at Fred and said, ‘I am contracted to work with you for two weeks, and I will give you two extra days because I know what location can be like, after those two days, if we don’t finish, I am walking’.

“Fred said I totally understand. I am sure he didn’t believe I would do it. When those two days were up, we still had one scene, and it was supposed to be a very crucial scene in the film. I didn’t show up.

“The marketer was big at that time. Because of that, I was secretly red-listed for quite a while. Mine was never mentioned, but it was done.”

As a veteran, she has seen it all. And she’s aware of the horrific stories of sex demands in the industry. She even has a euphemism for it.  

“Unfortunately, the casting couch issue is alive in Nollywood,” she said.

“Sometimes there is this hunger to get the work. Maybe you’ve gone to several auditions, and you haven’t gotten the work, then somebody tells you that it is because you are not doing what you should do that is when you are not getting the work.

“What I say to them is don’t believe it. By the time the producer, director, production manager or whoever insists on sleeping with you, it is very likely you will end up not getting the work. Some of the sad stories we hear are that because some people are so desperate, they end up getting passed around.”

But she knows what could stem the tide.

“We need more women producers, more women scriptwriters and more women stories so that we can then absorb a lot of women in the industry,” she said.  

You can call her a feminist as she’s famous for her passionate defence of women in the arts and media. And she’s concerned about the progress of women in the industry.

“As a performer, for instance, you see that the life of male actors goes on for a pretty long while,” she said.

“[male actors] tend to have writings that accommodate them through the ages. But, somehow, women, once you reach a particular age, the wrinkles are showing and things like that; the scripts don’t come as regularly.”

Joke Silva blames this anomaly on scriptwriters saying, “some writers do not know how to write about the challenges of women in their Middle Ages. Also, because this industry, in all areas, is dominated by men”.

“You then get the pressure for sexual favours just to make a breakthrough. Some people, out of desperation, will offer because they want the work. But the onus is now on you, as the provider of the work, to reject and reassure the person that even if you don’t get this, you’ll get another,” she added.

Joke Silva’s Career Timeline

1990 – featured in the English television series Mind Bending

1993 – appeared in Owulorojo

1995 – starred in Violated

1998 – appeared alongside Colin Firth and Nia Long in the British-Canadian film The Secret Laughter of Women

2002 – starred with Bimbo Akintola in Keeping Faith

2002 – co-produced and starred in The Kingmaker with Olu Jacobs

2003 – appeared in A Husband’s Wife

2004 – featured in Shylock, and A Past Came Calling

2006 – awarded the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards for her role in Women’s Cot; starred opposite Genevieve Nnaji in Mildred Okwo’s action thriller 30 Days.

The movie received 10 nominations at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2008, narrated by Jeta Amata’s Anglo-Nigerian production The Amazing Grace. The movie was nominated for 11 African Movie Academy Awards

2007 – featured alongside Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Michael Okon, and Fred Essien in Ndubuisi Okoh’s To Love and to Hold

2008 – won a Best Supporting Actress award for her methodical portrayal of a grandmother in White Waters. The movie was released in 2007

2011 – featured alongside Nse Ikpe Etim, Wale Ojo, and Lydia Forson in Kunle Afolayan’s romantic comedy Phone Swap. The film received four nominations at the 8th Africa Movie Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Nigerian Film. It won the award for Achievement in Productions Design

October 2012 – appointed a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

2013 – took to the stage to appear in the Mad King of Ijudiya at the Agip Hall of Muson Centre of Lagos at Christmas

September 29th 2014 – honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic

September 2016 – unveiled as the brand ambassador for AIICO Pension Managers Limited

2020 – led the campaign supporting ailing Nigerian actors and actresses, soliciting funds to pay for medical bills

2022 – appointed into Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign Team

Joke Silva’s Filmography

Joke Silva has been featured in over 100 movies since she rose to prominence in the 90s. Here are some of the films…


Laughter of Women (1999)

Last Wedding (2004)

Women’s Cot (2005)

30 Days (2006)

Eewo Orisa (2007)

The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2017)

Potato Potahto (2017)

Chief Daddy (2018)

Light In the Dark (2019)

Diamonds in the Sky (2019)

Two Weeks in Lagos (2019)

Namaste Wahala (2021)

Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman (2022)


Battleground (2017-2018)

Joke Silva’s Awards

She has bagged several awards since she started acting. Some of them are…

• 2006, Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards

• 2008, Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 4th Africa Movie Academy Awards

• EMOTAN Award by the African Independent Television (AIT)

• 2014, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR)

• SOLIDRA Award for Visual Art

Olu Jacobs

Joke Silva is married to actor Olu Jacobs, and she’s his first wife. The only wife, too. The couple met at the National Theatre, Lagos, during Nigeria’s 21st independence anniversary in 1981. They got married eight years later. Joke Silva was 28 when she got married to Olu Jacobs. Their union is blessed with two sons.

Concerns about Olu Jacobs’s health raised questions like Is Olu Jacobs dead? Is Olu Jacobs still alive? Olu Jacobs, whose age is 80, is still alive and kicking. Though he’s suffering from dementia with a Lewy body, he’s still very much with us.

The rumour of his death was becoming irritating to Joke Silva that she threatened to take legal action against those spreading the news.

“The Jacob clan would love to inform you that Pa J (Olu Jacobs MFR) is alive and enjoying himself as always in the comfort of his home and loved ones. To all those that have decided to ignore our last warnings regarding fake news, kindly prepare for legal action,” her statement read in part.

Despite this, it has been 34 years of happily ever for Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts co-owners.

“We’ve been very blessed,” she said.

“We’ve had our challenges like every other married couple. I guess one of … it’s actually a blessing and a challenge at the same time, you know when we’re both in the same profession, and that profession tends to be in the limelight. But we’ve learnt how to handle the challenge over the years.”

Joke Silva and the ailing Olu Jacobs

Joke Silva’s Net worth

Her estimated net worth is $1 million. It comes from her movie roles, endorsement deals, and other investments. But she’s not sold to celebrities’ excessive display of wealth on social media.

“Don’t be deceived by what goes on social media. Obviously, there is something else such actors are doing, perhaps other businesses to shore up their income,” she said.

“The reality is that on the earning capacity of an actor in Nigeria, you cannot have that sort of lifestyle in this economy. Yes, part of our industry is to have glamour but also the other part is to have reality.”

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Joke Silva’s Instagram account

Joke Silva is an active Instagram user, connecting and interacting with her followers. She has 820K followers with her handle, @ajokesilva.


Joke Silva is a screen diva that commands respect from the young and old in the industry. Most of the young actresses see her as a role model, and she has lived up to the billing. Her panache speaks volumes of her upbringing and taste.

Her small frame directly contrasts her personality and influence in Nollywood and beyond.  

Victor Akhidenor
Victor Akhidenor
I’m an award-winning journalist with over 10 years of experience in the industry. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Media and Communication. I also have a certificate in Media Enterprise from Pan-Atlantic University as well as a D Diploma in football coaching. Aside from the media, I have work experience in insurance claims processing, marketing, credit analysis, and corporate communications in the banking sector. My hobbies are watching sports activities, reading and writing, carrying out research, traveling, and photography.