I USED TO DRINK 12 BOTTLES OF BIG STOUT BEFORE GOING ON SET - MAMA F, ACTRESS
Her name rings a bell in Benin, Edo State. Go to the ancient city and ask for Mama F (Mama Federal), you won't need to sweat much before she is located. Indeed, Anthonia Oyameda, 56, is a household name not only in Benin but also in Ghana and Cameroon because of the role she plays in movies.
However, for about 37 years, Mama F became 'Mama Stout' as she cannot do without taking the drink in a day. In fact, she gulps up to 12 bottles of stout before going on set, a drinking habit her children had also mastered. For nine months, the mother of four boys suffered partial stroke, and for several years she had pile. But today, Mama F is healed after having a spectacular encounter with Jesus Christ. In this interview, she narrates her journey to self recovery. Excerpts:
I am Anthonia Oyameda. My stage name is Mama F. We have three mamas in Nollywood. They are Mama G, that is Patience Ozokwor, Mama D in the North, and myself, Mama F. I started acting while in secondary school. I took part in the popular sitcom, Hotel De Jordan, but when I got married my husband stopped me from acting for a while. Then I came back fully through Peter Edochie, who is like a father to me in Nollywood.
I acted in so many films. Most of my films are making waves in Ghana and Cameroon. The ones I can remember are Before Dawn, Mokas and Ejiro, among others. Acting is fun. I have been acting for the past 37 years. I used to take 10 to 12 bottles of stouts before going on set. Whenever I go for audition, I would tell them to give me some stout without which I cannot act. It has been like that for so many years. And whenever I am given a role to play, I always demand my stuff and it must be 10 or more bottles before I can accept to play a role, To me, money didn't matter much. It's stout or no acting.
No, I am not addicted to drugs. I just take the drinks for fun. I feel happy when I drink but when I came to know the Lord, my story changed. I am a mother of many children in the industry, my name is no where near that of Florence, Felicia, or Fidelia of Nollywood yet people call me Mama F because of the way I take care of people in the industry. When people started calling me Mama F, I asked what the meaning was and they said it means Mama Federal because of my love for children.
Life changing encounter
I feel happy whenever I drink alcohol. If I don't drink I cannot take my role. If any producer is calling me for job anywhere, he must promise to give me stout. He must load my fridge with bottles of stout so that before going on location I must drink and even after coming back from location, I must take some stout before going to bed. But then I thought I was enjoying, I didn't know I was only destroying myself. To God be the glory; today, I am a woman of yogurt and soft drinks. What actually changed me was when Pastor Lazarus Muoka came to Edo State in April 2011, as he was ministering, God touched me and there and then I gave my life to Christ. I believe that I am born again and I will make heaven.
From old to new
I was born 56 years ago. I celebrated my birthday on April 2 and on April 18 I gave my life to Christ. I threw away some of my old pictures, especially where I posed naked. I also threw away all my weave-ons and everything that will distract me from following God fully. But then I still keep some that I can bring along when coming to Lagos. If I had not listened to the word of God and repented, that would have taken me to hell fire so when the word of God hit me I removed my ear-rings and asked the girl behind me to remove my necklace. That's how God arrested me.
Like mother, like child
I have four boys; one of them is a pastor in Deeper Life Bible Church. When he heard of my conversion, he was happy and came with two of his pastors from Warri to pray with me. Whenever I went on film location and came back, I made sure I took my children except the pastor to a beer parlour or hotel. I would even ask them to invite their friends so that we all can celebrate my success together. My last son will be 23 in December but I started giving him alcohol when he was barely 13. I really spoiled my children with alcohol when they were young but I thank God such a thing cannot take place again in my family.
Pile and paralysis
I had partial stroke, which lasted for nine months, and pile that lasted for several years. It was when the man of God was preaching that he mentioned my case and said, 'if you have pile, tap the place', which I did, and immediately it vanished. Before the miraculous healing, I had gone to many hospitals without success. I had even decided to go for surgical operation but I asked God for divine healing and He healed me.