As Joke Muyiwa marks her 60th birthday on March 21, 2023, she has every reason to bask in the glory of a life well-lived. From her early years at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to her current status as a renowned film actress, honorary chief, and Ph.D. holder, Muyiwa’s career trajectory exemplifies the power of passion, talent, and dedication.
Born on March 21, 1963, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Muyiwa had her primary education at the Sacred Heart Convent School and her secondary education at the Baptist Grammar School, both in Ibadan, Oyo State. She later earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A Hons) degree in Dramatic Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University and a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan. After over 40 years of acting experience, Muyiwa obtained her Ph.D. from Redeemers University in December 2020.
Muyiwa’s acting career started at NTA Ibadan, where she honed her skills before joining the University of Ibadan Performing Arts Theatre and later the Obafemi Awolowo University Theatre Company. She has since appeared in numerous stage dramas, TV series, and films, showcasing her versatility and depth in the Yoruba language and beyond. Notable among her works are “Ayitale,” “Ayomi,” “Obinrin Ale,” “The Narrow Path,” and “Afonja.”
Aside from her acting talent, Muyiwa is also an accomplished academician, with over 14 years of lecturing experience in the department of Performing Arts at Olabisi Onabanjo University, where she was once the head of department. Her commitment to knowledge transfer has earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues, students, and industry peers. She is a role model and mentor to many aspiring actors and academics in Nigeria and beyond.
Muyiwa’s contribution to the arts and culture in Nigeria has not gone unnoticed, as she has received several awards and recognitions over the years. Notably, she won the Best Lead Actress in a Yoruba Film Award at the 2013 Best of Nollywood Awards for her role in “Ayitale,” produced and directed by Adebayo Salami. She also won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 2014 Yoruba Movie Academy Awards for the same film. In addition, she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress (Yoruba) category at the 2015 Best of Nollywood Awards for her role in “Ayo Mi” and won the Movie Matriarch Recognition Awards at the 2018 City People Movie Awards.
Beyond her professional achievements, Muyiwa is a devoted mother and grandmother. She had two sons, one of whom she lost at infancy. Her first son, Abayomi “Thespis” Ayeni, is a musician, while she became a grandmother in March 2020. Muyiwa’s ability to balance her personal and professional life underscores her resilience and determination to succeed in all spheres of life.
In recognition of her exemplary contribution to the arts and culture, Muyiwa was conferred with the Yeye Asa of Ago Iwoye chieftaincy title by HRM Oba Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye in 2018. She is also one of the ambassadors unveiled by Capital Sage Holdings, a testament to her influence and impact in the Nigerian entertainment industry.