The Nigerian film industry had been thrown into mourning as Amaka Igwe, a Nollywood icon passed on yesterday in her home town, just weeks before launching a new TV channel on DSTV.
A spokesperson for Amaka Igwe studios told newsmen that the sad incident occurred in Enugu where she had gone, in company of her husband, for pre-production preparations for a new Igbo soap.
‘She suffered an asthma attack and was immediately rushed to the hospital after initial interventions had failed. She passed on before getting to the hospital’, a statement issued this morning read.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Asthma attacks are triggered by a number of environmental and genetic interactions and usually come unannounced.
Mrs Igwe is survived by her husband of 21 years Charles Igwe, three children, an aged mother, siblings and a large extended family.
Mrs Igwe’s last major outing was at the inaugural edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference held on April 26, 2013 at the Grand Ball Room of Eko Hotels and Suites. Participating as a keynote speaker, Mrs Igwe delivered a speech on the ‘Reflections from an unapologetic commercial Nollywood filmmaker’.
Born Amaka Isaac-Ene, the deceased was an accomplished writer, producer, director, entrepreneur and teacher.
She is the founder of BoBTV Expo, founder and CEO of Top Radio 90.9FM, Amaka Igwe Studios, and the newly-launched Q Entertainment Networks.
The Lagos mainland based Top Radio station was launched years ago, with preparations underway to launch Q Networks, a DSTV channel in a few weeks.
A visionary and pioneer of modern Nigerian TV drama and film, she hit national limelight as the writer and producer of award-winning TV soap ‘Checkmate’ and its off shoot ‘Fuji House of Commotion’.
Her Nollywood projects include RattleSnake and Violated – two critically-acclaimed movies that set apart Amaka Igwe Studios in the much-criticised Nollywood industry.
Amaka Igwe studied Education/Religion at the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University). She had a Master’s Degree from the University of Ibadan. She had her early education at All Saints School (Now Trans Ekulu Primary School), Girls High School Awkunanaw, Enugu and Idia College, Benin.
Interestingly, Amaka Igwe wanted to study law but officials of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) offered her a chance to study Education and Religious Study instead. From OAU, Mrs Igwe signed the MNET short celluloid film ‘Barbers Wisdom’ as director and then proceeded to the University of Ibadan where she grabbed a master degree in Library and Information Services.
She married her longtime partner Charles Igwe in 1993. They had three kids together – Ruby, David and Daniel.
She worked as a lecturer at the Anambra State University of Technology and briefly in oil and Gas, before settling for the motion picture industry.
Mrs Igwe will be remembered for raising the bar in movie and TV production in Nigeria, creating high standards with her company Amaka Igwe Studios at a time when Nollywood wasn’t taken serious, for not conforming to low standards as a means to achieving success and inspiring many Nigerian movie makers.