Taiwo Ajai-Lycett is a Nollywood actress, who despite her old age is still very active in the movie industry.

Her acting debut was in 1966 in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel and has since then, went on to make more exploits, including receiving a national award of Officer of the Order of the Niger, from former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

However, behind the glory is a story that was recently shared with The Nation. There, Ajai-Lycett spoke on how she became a teenage mother at 15, a dropout at 16, widowed at 52, raped at 65.

Read excerpts below:

I have been through the fire, I have been through the furnace, I emerged fortified. I was 15 years old when I had a child. I became a teenage mother. By 16, I was on my own.

My family disowned me. They thought I gave them a bad name because I got pregnant. It was a big deal back then.

All my siblings were in school but there I was… I was a maid in my father’s house. Everybody just ignored me. I was the one doing all the cooking and house work. I kept my head down but I enrolled in evening school. There was no way anyone could stop me from learning.

I met Lycett long after I divorced my first husband. By the time I met him, I was a big name in acting and business.

Eventually I married Thomas Lycett in between a stage production. We had a blissful marriage. He died when I was 52-years-old. I remember him everyday. He was the one that told me that I was better off being an actor. He advised me to return to Nigeria, to teach people and share my acting gift. I was married to an incredible man for 25 years.

I ran TAL House, a private school I meant to do good with it but my staff orchestrated an attack on me. I was tied. I was beaten. I was brutalised. My health was ruined. I was blindfolded and raped. The man who raped me complained that he couldn’t gain easy entry into me because I wasn’t wet. I told him ‘widows don’t get wet.’ I kept talking to them and asked them repeatedly, ‘Are you doing this to your mother?’ Angrily, they taped my mouth but I remained fearless and prayed all through the attack.

Few years after the sad incident, one of them came to prostrate before me, pleading for my forgiveness. I told him to seek forgiveness from God. I told him that I had moved on.

Bad things happen but if you learn from them, they would shape your life positively.

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