Nollywood movie producer, Jeta Amata took to social media to shower encomium on his father, Veteran actor Zack Amata.
‘My father, Zack Amata, maintains regard as a gift to the theatre; he was my lecturer in the university. While he was everyone’s favorite teacher because he was one of the most respected actors in Nigeria, it was different for me. I felt he didn’t separate being my father and my lecturer. I was wrong.
He’d stop me from entering the class when I was a minute late. Then when his favorite students like John Ochinya Onah, Jane Oganya Unogwu, Patience Eloyi Itodo Abah, Nicholas Kiva, Anne Onwuka Echor, Esther Omale Onwuka or the late Che Che came after me, he’d have to let me in. I always gave him a wry smile when entering.
The students mentioned above were my best friends in school, John and Nicholas were even my roommates, and we studied together for each of his tests and exams, but they almost always got As while my father consistently gave me a B.
Once I had malaria, and I’ve always reacted terribly to the medication. It’s was Theatre Design, his course, and I was so ill that I finished my exam before anyone else, but I submitted my question paper and took the answer sheet out. My father was not invigilating but decided to drop by. When my friends came out to meet me, they realized my error and talked to the invigilator who agreed, but Oga Zack (as he was known) said no. Eventually, he decided after some convincing from my classmates.
Once in class, Oga Zack asked each student to come to the front of the room. The plan was for the entire class to rain insults on the person. I felt my father set the whole thing up to have people insult me. I remember the class firing all kinds of invectives; my father had said for us to look for the truth about everyone to use for the one-sided “Yo mama.”
I fought with my father almost every day in school, but when I was 21 and wanted to make my first film, I couriered a letter to him, and two days later he drove 12 hours to Lagos to star in my first film. Then my second, and third, and fourth and fifth films.
Our parents may be tough on us; however, the most important thing a father can do for his child is being there and showing up.
I celebrate you, Zack Amata, I know it’s not your birthday, but the mark you put on me shines forever, and I must acknowledge you before witnesses.’