5 Minutes With Sambasa Nzeribe
Multi-talented actor, Chiedozie ‘Sambasa’ Nzeribe made his debut in the Nollywood movie scene in 2013. And barely three years after, he has already won the prestigious AMVCA in the Best Supporting Actor’ category for his role as Ghetto in the movie, “A Soldier’s Story“. The amiable actor, model and poet speak with IJEOMA OPARA on his journey to stardom.
Tell us about growing up?
I grew up in Isolo, Lagos. I lost my father at a very young age; I recall as a child that he went to work one day and never made it back home. But years later we felt the impact of growing up without a father figure. My mother was a primary school teacher and her income was not enough to feed five of us her children. So she went into petty trading. There is nothing we didn’t sell to make some money. I hawked fufu, vegetables and puff-puff in the streets of Isolo. My mother was also a drama teacher and choir instructor in the church at St. Mary Catholic Church in Isolo. And I was a part of the drama and music group in church. There I developed love for music and drama. But sadly she died of fibroid when I was about rounding off my secondary school education. As a youth, the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) then took up the responsibility to train me and my siblings via their orphans’ scholarship scheme. They saw me through secondary school; I then did my O’levels, wrote JAMB and then gained admission to study Creative Arts at the UNILAG.
Is Sambasa your real name?
My real name is Chiedozie Sixtus Nzeribe. ‘Sambasa’ is a name that grew with me because of the tough things I was experiencing. It is an acronym for my philosophy of life, and it means ‘Surviving and Maintaining Balance against Societal Aggression’. It simply means that whatever odd life throws; brace it with the belief that you would survive it.
Being trained by the church, was there any complaint when we you went into acting?
Yes. Many wondered where I would end up with my course- Creative Arts. But winning the AMVCA award has changed their impression and gave meaning to my career.
Where you intimidated by the other more nominees in the category?
Being nominated alone makes you a winner already. So I was already content with that. I never assumed that I would win because there were more popular actors nominated alongside myself in the category. Even people around me when they saw the nominees would advise me not to expect too much but to just console myself that I was even nominated. So, yes I was intimidated by other nominees but I went in with a brave heart, hoping and praying that I would win.
Who are your role models?
I like Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), Ramsey Noah and Desmond Elliot. In the female category, I like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Mercy Johnson.
What is your most challenging role?
I would say it is the ‘Soldier Story’ by Martin Gbados. Also ‘A mile from Home’ challenged me.
What has stardom denied you?
I love mingling with people. And being an actor has denied me so much. And I’m still trying to get used to it. Now I can no longer mingle freely with people because almost everyone keeps asking me for money.
What’s your advice to upcoming actors?
First believe in God. Commit your desire, passion and art to Him. Then study your art, train and then believe in yourself. And finally love yourself.
What should fans expect from you?
I’m very thankful and grateful to my fans that voted for me. They should expect the best from me. There are more movies to shoot. They should watch out for another upcoming movie- ‘Slow Country’. I also have personal projects that have to do with poetry, Musical and Drama. I vow to my fans to remain focus, level headed and to be open to constructive criticisms.