Enough is Enough: 7 fake ‘Tinsel’ accents that need to go

by Hauwa Gambo

For those of us who watch Tinsel religiously every week, sometimes it can be so frustrating to see if our favourite cast frustrate with all kinds of avoidable errors. The one I cannot get over however is the accents – and it’s time someone who loves them called them out. So here we go, in order of annoyance:


I weep as I write this. What have they done with Funmi Holder? She wasn’t a house-hold name, but those who had watched her on stage and on screen before Tinsel turned her into this Amaka know that she was one of the brightest spots on our acting field. And one of her strongest suits was her delivery of lines. But on Tinsel, the only thing annoying more annoying than Amaka’s abrasive persona, is her sing-song voice. Who talks like that? Cadence is good; this however is … just ridiculous. Does Ms. Holder not watch episodes to hear how utterly otherworldly she sounds? Is there nobody on set there who can cry out: “Amaka, stop!”?


Off the set, she’s one of the most loveable Tinsel cast you will find, but there are two issues Matilda Obaseki has – none of them is unnatural; after all not everyone can speak perfectly. One is that she has something between a lisp and a sibilant; the other is that she also does not pronounce well enough – so she says ‘aks’ instead of ‘ask’ and ‘estent’ instead of ‘extent’. Incredibly, these kinds of cringe-worthy moments occur so often that you can safely decipher that there are no Take 2s on the Tinsel set. So, here’s the question: since she has this problem, why is she also burdened with the ‘Tinsel’ accent? It’s not exactly an Amaka ‘sing-song’, but it’s a run-on – when Angela speaks, she doesn’t have the normal human pauses in conversation, she just goes on and on like she has to quickly say these words and leave. It’s unnatural and takes away the power of an otherwise magnetic character. Which really calls to question the judgement of the soap’s directors.


This is another cause for tears. Surely, even the heavens know that Iretiola Doyle is one of our acting treasures, but on Tinsel, I don’t even know what’s going on. Her character, Sheila is made too talk too fast, and to sound too forced. Added to her own discernible sibilant, it’s like a rush of wind. At which point, I might add that it’s an ill wind that blows all of us no good. Then there’s that strange thing that happens when that rush of wind falls into a whisper especially when Sheila’s is angry. It’s quite awkward to watch. Aunty Ireti, doesn’t it feel awkward with you too?


The other day, in a scene with Telema speaking to Kwame about how he is such a terrible, horrible, despicable soul (which is all kinds of irritating, because we all knew who he was before she huffed and puffed her way into being his wife), I couldn’t help noticing that she spoke for almost 5 minutes without her hand moving for a minute! Actors know this is incredibly hard to carry off – so Damilola Adegbite gets props for that. What she doesn’t get props for though is her queen of all fake accents. She’s caught between the Tinsel accent epidemic and the strange need for Nigerian actresses to imitate a British or American or Chinese accent depending on their mood. This kind of thing just makes people stop taking her seriously.


Sometimes I feel so sorry for Poor Gbenro Ajibade – valiantly carrying a cross that’s too heavy for him to bear. There is always a ring-out alarm when he speaks on Tinsel – like this is a young man forced to lift a character he is ill-equipped to handle without at least a year’s worth of acting classes and voice coaching. And is it really necessary? I thought his character is supposed to be a successful but still relatively broke photographer? And isn’t he supposed to be from the ghetto or something? So why do they give him lines for him to speak the kind of English that in an accent that always makes him look visibly constipated? Is this not man’s inhumanity to man?



First, Gideon Okeke has surprised me with just how much he has settled into his character, so he certainly deserves more than a little praise. But he is also caught in the Tinsel web. What exactly is Philip’s accent? British? South African? Victoria Island-ian? And why does he have to pitch sometimes like he is in the opera? Tinsel is a Nigerian soap dude! So if you will be the spoiled child of a rich man you have two options – you come at me with stiff upper lip of the British, with the perfect drawl of the American and you make sure it’s flawless. If you can’t, then I’d be darned, forget that thing and focus on pronouncing your words clearly and speaking normally like a good Nigerian boy that went to a good school. Gideon always sounds like he is trying too hard. Scratch that. He is trying too hard. It’s not necessary, man: you is smart. you is talented. you is a good actor.


To be honest? This act has gotten rather old, fast. The entire love affair between Shalewa and Titan kept us glued, but now her ‘Bad English’ and ‘Yoruba intonation’ are no longer amusing. How does a girl who went to village schools, can hardly read and write and can’t string a word together fluently speak about civil rights and Che Guevara and petitions? Too often the Tinsel guys make Tomi Odunsi sound silly by incongruously mixing perfect English with “Shalewa English”. They have to focus. Soaps are generally about borderline plausibility, so we’re not asking for utmost believability. But the Tinsel directors just slap our intelligence around. Wo, very soon we will begin to stone Shalewa through the TV screens when she comes on. You just watch.

(Brenda is back! Read our last Weekly Tinsel Review HERE)


So there you go. And, note, I didn’t list Brenda and Fred ‘cause I love their accents as they are – the exaggeration on Brenda’s part fits with her character and the deliberateness of Fred’s is paced and dignified. The others however, need to get over theirs – don’t they hear the way Kwame and Tare speak? Why do Nigerians always like to disgrace me in front of foreigners ehn?


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Comments (17)

  1. Unnecessary criticism. And we wonder why Nigeria isn’t moving forward. Who are you sef??? Jobless opportunist who has managed to learn how to use a computer. Get a life you! *sigh *…. Something you could learn? Positive criticism… Look it up on Google in case you don’t know what that means. Cheers

  2. mind your business, least they are working. they have already made a record in the Nigerian Drama scene.How many soaps have done a 1000 episodes..and that is still counting. this post is so unnecessary and its a reflection of idleness and boredom.

  3. loool, for sm tym naw I thought I was d only one who had dis props wit d tinsel cast…. I lyk u guys buhhh cn u guys speak to us rather dan rapping, it's annoying u should knw dat…..

  4. Nice review…but methinks y'all forget that tinsel is an internationally broadcast soap. I think that what u refer to as the Tinsel factor is the producers' attempt to ensure that the actors speak English without the unique Nigerian tint that might make it difficult for non-Nigerians to make out the speeches.

    I do agree however, that Amaka is way overboard with the sing-song and Salewa"s "popsie mi" has become somewhat tired…

  5. Freds accent is simply appauling! Who on earth speaks like….and dont even get me started on the unkempt bushy forest covered with snow that he calls hair! And the goatee on his chin should be returned instantly to the goat that he nicked it from! I have to watch fred's scenes that FRed is in very close to a sink in case I throw up! i- in case I yhro

  6. the only person on this list should be amaka… all others are just being slammed. Unnecessary.. the post is about accents… where does someone's lisp come into play? That is just downright mean!

  7. Gideon!!! Dont know why but i find myself comparing his accent on tinsel and the now showing starquest…

  8. lol! i love tinsel just because its the first soap opera that has managed to have unexpected twists thereby proving a bit difficult to predict the end from the beginning like most home movies. That being said, i agree with Hauwa 200%! i have always wondered why Amaka sounds like she is singing! you said it just the way i see it! You are a very good critic! i get tired of Salewa too and i just want to slap Angela, she is si unnatural! you should check her out in that DSTV advert, she's so fake! let me not go repeating all you have already stated. Just wanted to drop by and say 'go girl! u are on point'!

  9. bless you for this review. i honestly cant stand tinsel for 15mins!

  10. Hauwa Gambo just kills it each time. Pity I can't see the face behind this funny and truthful article. Pity.

    I can't stop laughing at the humorous injections in the article and I also agree that Brenda's accent certainly is in keeping with her character. She is 'fake', snobbish, has an exaggerated opinion of herself and her abilities. To pull that off, you have to have such an annoying accent and gesticulation to go with it.

  11. Brenda should have been the number one on your list!That accent is wayyyyyyy to exagerrated for her character!All of them,in one way or the other,speak with ridiculously annoying accents!Can they just stop already!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Funny,but I think brenda's accent is the most annoying and that Ashinoye too.come,why aren't they on d list ehn?

  13. I think there is a difference between being able to deliver lines and having a proper accent. The title should be changed cos the problem is how they deliver their lines, not necessarily their accent.

    A lot of the cast have a forced expression when saying their lines and that has always been my problem w/ Tinsel.

  14. Come, u conveniently use 'we' and 'I' when it suits you. Are u writing a review based on your personal opinion? I tend to believe so. Abi does 'we' represent YNaija? Brenda's accent is ideal for her character???? Intelligent review.*yimu*

  15. Thank you very much…….I always wondered why they all spoke funny, esp since we all knew alot of them before Tinsel. I hope this will help. The accent totally put me off, i have only watched Tinsel for a combined total of 1hr in the last 1 year

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail