Once upon a time, Nollywood actors used to eat their roles so well that people found it difficult to differentiate between them and these characters. Sure, this ended up in some serious typecasting, but that’s just small collateral damage that comes with living out iconic characters. 

Patience Ozokwor aka Mama G 

Patience Ozokwor, aka Nollywood queen of poisoning, drowning, affliction and wickedness, is one of the most famous faces in Nollywood. While her evil characters are as terrifying as they’re iconic, none of them come close to her YOLO character, Mama G.

Mama G was such a hit, Patience Ozokwor made a full album as the character. I also feel like this character was a huge inspiration behind Lady Donli’s Enjoy Your Life album.

Nkem Owoh aka Osuofia

Nkem Owoh may be mellow now in films like Chief Daddy and Lionheart, but he’ll always be known as the larger than life Osuofia. One of the first Nigerian films to be shot in the UK, Osuofia in London was a massive hit, in the days before the forced IG-comedian ensembles we have today.

Just like Mama G, his character was so popular he also had to drop his own album. Serious something sha. 

Funke Akindele aka Jenifa

From I Need to Know to Jenifa to deputy governorship candidacy, Funke Akindele has lived many lives. However, none of them has been as iconic as her role as the titular character in Jenifa. As clichéd as the film was, it was a hilarious take on “runs” culture from the eyes of a new girl. 

Because Nollywood knows how to milk everything until it runs dry, Jenifa is still on our screens over ten years later. 

John Okafor aka Mr. Ibu

The fact that Mr. Ibu’s name is actually John is stressing me out. Why did I think he was named Mr. Ibu from birth? In my defence, I can’t even picture him as a child, so my theory made sense to me. 

RECOMMENDED: 5 Nollywood Actors Who Actually Made Pretty Good Songs

Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze aka Aki and Paw Paw

Raise your hands if you knew Aki and Paw Paw’s real name before this? Now raise your legs and hands if you’re confident you’ll remember their names tomorrow. These two played the hell out of their role in Aki Na Ukwa that they ended up just playing different variations of said characters in multiple films. There’s even a remake of the original film, but we don’t rate it

Sola Sobowale aka Toyin Tomato

Sola Sobowale might be Laburu to the Gen Zs, but she’ll always be Toyin Tomato to OGs. Playing the manipulative Toyin on Super Story’s Oh Father, Oh Daughter, Sola Sobowale had us hating her character week after week. In hindsight, Toyin Tomato wasn’t necessarily a bad person, she was just a woman who recognised a bag and took it. Periodt!

Nkiru Sylvanus aka Ble Ble 

You can’t tell me Justin Timberlake wasn’t dreaming of Nkiru Sylvanus when he sang Cry Me A River. After all these years, I’m yet to find an actress that can cause  Lekki flood with her tears, the way Nkiru can. Even though some people know her from Egg of Life, it’s the iconic role of Blessing aka Ble Ble in A Cry For Help that remains her most popular role to date. 

Pete Edochie aka Okonkwo

This is for the real OGs who are old enough to be parents because youngins will have no idea what I’m talking about here. While most people know Pete Edochie for all his kingly and wise daddy roles, some of us can remember when he was Okonkwo on NTA’s adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. He was so good in the role that for the longest time, most people just called him Okonkwo. 

ALSO READ: Nollywood Needs to Go Back to Making Films About Juju



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.