Nigerian-British actor, David Oyelowo, has revealed that although he spent his early days in Nigeria, he can barely speak the Yoruba language. The Selma actor said that to his shame, he only understands the Yoruba language but cannot speak it.
In an interview with Channels Television, the Gringo actor said due to his British accent, people often assume that he does not understand the language.
Oyelowo, whose father hailed from Oyo State and his mother from Edo State, said, “I can barely speak it but I can understand it. If you were to say anything, I will understand it; but to my shame, my Yoruba has decreased immensely. I lived in Lagos from the age of 6-13, and it has been quite a while since I have been speaking Yoruba.
“It is a great trick of mine that whenever I am around fellow Nigerians, they think that I cannot understand Yoruba and then I get to know what they really think of me when they start to speak Yoruba and I cannot understand them.”
He further hinted that as a student of Model College Meran, Lagos, most of his peers believed that he didn’t understand the Yoruba language till his last days in the school when he gave them a shocker.
He said, “I went to Model College, Meran, Lagos, when I was living in Nigeria, and for the two years that I was at that boarding house, I pretended not to be able to speak Yoruba because I have this accent; I grew up in the UK.
“I remember that on the very last day of being at Model College, I suddenly went around speaking Yoruba the whole time. My dorm friends who thought I couldn’t speak Yoruba suddenly realised that I had heard every single thing they had said about me. That was a fun moment.”