In the vibrant tapestry of Nigerian entertainment and journalism, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett stands as an icon of talent, resilience, and accomplishment. Born on February 3, 1941, in Lagos State, Nigeria, Taiwo’s journey from her early years to becoming a celebrated actress, editor, and honoree reflects a life rich with diverse experiences.
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s Early Life and Education:
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Ajai in colonial Nigeria, Taiwo’s educational journey began at Mt. Carmel Convent School, Lagos, followed by Methodist Girls’ High School, Lagos. Her quest for knowledge led her to London, where she pursued cosmetology at the Christine Shaw School of Beauty Science and earned a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies from Hendon College of Technology in 1969.
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s Career Beginnings:
Taiwo’s career trajectory is a testament to her determination. From being a waitress at Lyons Tea Shop during her student days to holding key positions in the Post Office and advertising, she carved a unique path. Her foray into acting was unplanned, debuting in Wole Soyinka’s “The Lion and the Jewel” in 1966 at London’s Royal Court Theatre, which marked the beginning of a remarkable acting career.
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s Acting Career:
Embracing the art of acting, Taiwo joined the Traverse Theatre Group in 1972 and later participated in various theatrical and television productions, including the acclaimed Nigerian soap opera “Tinsel” and the movie “Oloibiri.” Her achievements in the acting realm are complemented by her directorial role at the Black Theatre Workshop in London.
In 1975, Taiwo embraced journalism, working with Raph Uwechue’s Africa Magazine. She later became the first editor of Africa Woman Magazine, a publication for Africans living abroad. Her editorial role during the UN’s International Women’s Year showcased her commitment to empowering women.
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s Personal Life:
Despite facing challenges, including domestic violence in her first marriage, Taiwo’s resilience shone through. Her second marriage to Thomas Aldridge Lycett lasted for 25 years until his passing in 1993.
Filmography and Stage Performances:
From “Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman” to “Madam President,” Taiwo’s filmography is a testament to her versatility. Notable stage performances include “The Lion and the Jewel” (1966) and “Murderous Angels” (1971).
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s Awards and Honors:
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. She received a special recognition award and a life achievement award at the Eko Film and TV Awards. In 2006, former President Olusegun Obasanjo honored her with an OON (Officer of the Order of the Niger). The 2022 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCA) further recognized her with The Industry Merit Award.
- What inspired Taiwo Ajai-Lycett to pursue acting? Taiwo’s acting journey began unexpectedly when she participated in Wole Soyinka’s “The Lion and the Jewel” at the encouragement of director William Gaskill.
- Did Taiwo face challenges in her personal life? Yes, Taiwo overcame domestic violence in her first marriage. Despite these challenges, she pursued her education and a successful career.
- What are Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s notable film and stage performances? Taiwo has starred in various productions, including “Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman,” “Madam President,” and her debut in “The Lion and the Jewel.”
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett’s journey is an inspiring narrative of triumph over adversity. From her early struggles to becoming a distinguished figure in Nigerian entertainment and journalism, Taiwo’s story resonates with determination and resilience. Her impact is not only evident in her extensive filmography but also in her contributions to empowering women through journalism. As she continues to receive accolades and honors, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett remains a beacon of inspiration for aspiring artists and journalists alike.
Follow Taiwo Ajai-Lycett on social media: