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From Sneaking Out Watching Movies To A Movie Star

By Yunus S Saliu

FS Bojang

Fatou S Bojang popularly called FS is one among the Gambian seasoned actresses whose remarkable role in a Mandika movie titled Aisha has earned her a gateway into the Gambia movie industry and since then she has kept ascending the ladder of success. Joining the industry a decade ago, she has become one of the most sought-after actresses in the industry.

In this moment of sharing her story and experience with DTourisphere, Fatou S Bojang explained how she got inspired and become an actress. She was from sneaking out to watch movies and rising to become a movie star continuing to love the profession as the day goes by. To know the detail about FS Bojang, this is an excerpt about her:

DT: In brief introduce yourself to your lovely fans across the world.

FS Bojang: I’m Fatou S Bojang, 39, Gambian, married with four kids – two boys and two girls I am from a family of seven – four boys and three girls the eldest and an accountant by profession with over a decade of experience.

DT: Tell us briefly about your education.

FS Bojang: I did my primary and junior education at Sukuta Basic and Upper, SSS at Nusrat while I proceeded to Management Development Institute (MDI) to study accounting AAT. After that, I started working with my present employer. Also, I traveled to India for other short-time programs where I studied Financial Accounting. And presently, I’m pursuing my Accountancy program at the University of The Gambia.

DT: Great, so how did you come into acting, and for how long now you have been acting?

FS Bojang: I started in 2009, precisely September. That time I saw an advertisement on TV calling for an audition with AIDS Secretariat. And I developed an interest because I have been watching many Nigerian movies so which motivated me because I fell in love with them any time I was watching their movies. So I decided to give it a trial, and thank God, it was a success. And among the panelists during the audition, we have Nigerian popular actor Frances Duru. I was among those they shortlisted while we have a weeklong training from thereon it become part of my career that I love daily!

DT: Do you have time for it?

FS Bojang: Yes, because I love doing it is a passion in me and despite being a working mother and student I still tried and created time for it even though it is not full-time.

DT: Going back to the audition and selection, do you feature along with any international actor/actress then?

FS Bojang: Yes, during the project, the like of Venice Production was here and some of us and the other production crew acted alongside Oge Okoye, a popular Nigerian actress.

DT: How do you find people that you have worked or working with ranging from casts, directors, producers, and so on taking into consideration the likes of Frances Duru and Oge Okoye who are both Nollywood actors?

FS Bojang: I will start with the international actors (Frances and Oge) they have been in the sector for quite a long time and we learned from them because they are experienced. At that time I like a few others were just starting so they were like our mentors trying to coach us through.

Among Gambian actors/actresses I have worked with quite a lot of them, they are awesome though it is not easy for us in the acting sector one thing keeping us going is passion. And if you have passion for something you can’t let it go. Our industry is still slow and not growing fast as expected though we are trying to be like other colleagues outside.
In the Gambia here we believe in fast investment Investors would like to invest today and reap the profit tomorrow. This made it difficult for the movie sector and the people working there.

DT: What new thing are you trying in your acting career different from when you started?

FS Bojang: In recent times I tried to explore stage performing and I found it more interesting, and it is like I’m more in love with stage performance now than the screen itself.

DT: Tell us your first performance either on screen or stage.

FS Bojang: My first experience (laugh), I was excited but very nervous as well because it was my first time, honestly, I was shaky because the pressure was high. At one point, I was trembling and the director said ‘Fatou you can do this, they are like us.’ He was referring to the international actor and the actress. So, I gathered the courage that was how the fire in me ignited.

DT: What film was that?

FS Bojang: Wrong Identity.

DT: Was that your first appearance?

FS Bojang: Yes, it is my first appearance movie.

DT: So looking back at that movie today and your other works now, how will you rate your performances?

FS Bojang: Wow, I have learned a lot and, grown. Because going through my work of over a decade of experience in the sector to date, I gained much experience and I am so much in love with my work.

DT: You are now falling in love with stage performances, so what’s making you like stage performing compared to the screen that you started with?

FS Bojang: First, we had one month of training with the Alliance Franco whereby the trainer will require you to do anything creative that makes sense. And after the training, we had a show we invited families and friends. We performed and everyone was amazed there was this ‘toubab’ (white man) among the audience who walked up to me and said ‘wow, we never knew that Gambia has talent(s) like this.’ In that play, there were scenes where I have to cry, and sing. Surprisingly, I cried bitterly on stage myself didn’t know how it all formed. Because in the storyline I was abandoned outcaste in the community and it was very painful. That was the character given to me. The audience was moved and after the show, people come to hug me. After that, we had another performance again since then I fall in love with stage performing because on stage you have direct contact with your audience and the opportunity to showcase your talent as a professional actress/actor.

DT: In this instance, you gave, before the performance on that stage, were you expecting to glow up to that extent or have the standing ovation that you got?

FS Bojang: One thing about me is that whatever role you give me I make sure I give my mark to it that day I wasn’t expecting up to that extent, but it was extraordinary that day because I can see myself performing extremely beyond expectation.

DT: Let’s rewind a bit, you had said acting is a passion and that you have been watching some of the Nollywood, and Bollywood movies and Gambian actresses, so, who is your favourite actor or actress that inspired you?

FS Bojang: Movie is what I love watching because sometimes I will sneak out of the house when I was young or tell my mother that I am going to my grandma. Guess what, I will end up at the video club. Then Nigerian movies were not common or popular in the country in the early 90s but it was Indian and American movies popular in the video clubs. Those days there was a video club in our community so when I come back from school finished my homework if there is any and if none I will drop my bag and sneaked out to the video club to watch movies. But one day I was there one of my aunts, though we are age group, said ‘your mother has been looking for you everywhere and this is where you used to come.’ And she said ‘I am going to tell your mother.’ That day I was crying but also enjoying the film and then we used to enjoy actors like Amta Bachan, Dharmendra and so on. They were among the actors that inspired me. Then I have not seen myself in it though, but honestly, I think what inspired or pushed me to act is the Nigerian movies.

DT: When you started this path in 2009, do you have support from your husband and family?

FS Bojang: Yes, because when I saw the advert first, I told my husband about it and said I love to be part of it. I told him I just feel like giving a trial. At first, he didn’t give me the green light but he thought over it and realized that I was not joking he gave me his blessing and support from then to today.

DT: Now some couples are giving support to their partners when it comes to creativity, acting especially, compared to the past. What do you think could be the reason behind it?

FS Bojang: The most reason behind this I will say is exposure compared to the olden days when the belief was that anyone in this profession is wayward, but many couples have realized it is not to be what people are thinking about the profession because it is having an impact on other people’s life.

DT: How many movies have you featured?

FS Bojang: Well, I have featured in many movies and even forget some of them but I remember very well Aisha, I was the lead cast in the movie, I have featured in Pain of Sorrow, and so on.

DT: Tell us one or two of your experiences with your fans

FS Bojang: Aaah, okay, like in the movie titled Aisha, the character I played there was a less privileged girl and in it, I cried a whole lot that people will walk to me admire and sympathise with me for the role I played in that movie. But there is a shift in the movie titled Pain of Sorrow where I played a role of a wicked person after finishing premiering the movie a gentleman walked up to me and said ‘Aisha’ and I looked at him while he said to me ‘when I watched your other movie Aisha I felt sorry for you because I thought you are a good person but I never knew you are this wicked (referring to my new role in the premiered movie). So this is your reality, you are very wicked!’

DT: So what was your reply to him?

FS Bojang: I pause and looked at him then I said thank you very much this has shown that I played my role very well and I walked away. Anyway, I think society still needs more orientation from entertainment writers to know more about what we are doing.

DT: When do the movies Pain of Sorrow and Aisha premier?

FS Bojang: I think 2016 or 2017 for Pain of Sorrow and Aisha it was 2011.

DT: What the man said to you that day after the premier of the movie, does it has any effect on you?

FS Bojang: Well, it makes me more determined in my work because I took it from the positive side meaning I am executing my role very well as expected as an actress. So his statement was a boost for me.

DT: What is the popular name that you got from a movie that sticks to you?

FS Bojang: Aisha is a popular name I got from the Mandinka movie I featured and the name of the movie itself is Aisha.

DT: How profitable is the movie industry in The Gambia now?

FS Bojang: To tell you the truth, as of now, movies in the Gambia cannot put food on the table for any Gambia-based actors and actresses for real. The money is not forthcoming like you can see the benefit of the movie industry in other countries. Sincerely, no money in it this country but we remain in it because of our passion for the profession.

DT: However, which of your works has given you more challenge, and which one you can say is your favorite?

FS Bojang: One of my favourites is Aisha but there is one that is more challenging I don’t want to mention the title because it is yet to complete/release because of a few challenges.

DT: What do you think is still the cause of this lucrative sector not favorable to the people there?

FS Bojang: First and foremost, we don’t have investors to invest in the industry to support what we are doing. The sector needs support from the government but is not forthcoming. Secondly, the lack of movie promoters, and as well we don’t even have a market regarding the country’s population are among the contributing factors and challenges we are facing in the industry. Also the contents of the movies we are producing matter, too, I think we should also work on that for attraction.

DT: Rounding up this, what would you like to tell your fans out there?

FS Bojang: I would like to say a big thanks to all my fans out there they have been watching me in any movies or stage performances I featured or appeared in from the first day till today. Their love for me is manifested within the Gambia and abroad there are always different calls with different positive comments. And with my career, I have so many friends who know me or not through my acting career. In this New Year, I wish I have something bigger than thank you to say to them but all the same, thank you to everyone there that are watching our movies.

DT: Finally, what are your social media account that your fans and others can reach you?

FS Bojang: On FaceBook check for Fatou S Bojang, on Twitter, it is @ SBojang1 and on Instagram is Fsbjaiteh

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Yunus S Saliu

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Monica Davies

    January 20, 2023

    You are an amazing Actress and having the support of your husband to still pursue your acting career despite it’s challenges is incredible.. wishing you more success in your career my ever beautiful darling ???

    • Avatar

      Yunus

      January 20, 2023

      Thanks and keep reading DTourisphere for your latest stories

  2. Avatar

    Maimuna Drammeh Danso

    January 20, 2023

    Congratulations my darling, wishing you more success in your career sweetie. Keep pushing, the sky is your limit dear. Proud of you though.

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