Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, (OON) is a Nigerian actress, journalist, television presenter, and cosmetologist.
She was born on February 3, 1941 in Lagos state. Her father was of Awori decent of Lagos.
Lycett had her education at Mount Carmel Convent School and Methodist Girls’ High School, both in Lagos state.
Lycett then traveled to London to study Business Administration. She took courses at Christine Shaw School of Beauty Science in London, and obtained a certificate in cosmetology.
She also attended Hendon College of Technology, where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies in 1969.
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett worked in various places as a waitress at Lyons Tea Shop, the Post Office and later advertising in London. In the Post Office, she started as a personal secretary in 1962 and later worked as a senior secretary in the office of Lord Hall.
Lycett began her acting debut in December 1966 in Wole Soyinka’s playwright, ‘The Lion and the Jewel’, a two-act comedy directed by William Gaskill at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Her acting debut was not planned, she was in the rehearsal hall of the play when she was asked by Gaskill to be a participant. Her brilliant performance and encouragement made her to make a career in acting profession. She thereafter enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Lycett is a feminist and was the first editor of Africa Woman magazine in the 1970s.
In 1972, she left her corporate career and joined the Traverse Theatre Group for the Edinburgh Festival. She was later in a string of television and stage shows.
In 1973, Lycett was in Amadu Maddy’s play Life Everlasting at the Africa Centre, London, and later in the year, she was in Peter Nichols’ The National Health during the Festival of British Theatre.
In 1976, Taiwo Lycett played the lead role in Yemi Ajibade’s Parcel Post at the Royal Court Theatre alongside actor Louis Mahoney and the writer Mike Phillips. She was a director with the Black Theatre Workshop in London.
lycett returned to Nigeria in 1971 and without wasting time, joined the Nigerian Movie Industry. She has since featured in several notable Nigerian films, including Tinsel, the award-winning Nigerian soap opera.
Some of her movies include:
• Some Mothers Do Ave ‘Em (Season 2, Episode 5 – Father’s Clinic)
• Tinsel (TV series)
• Dazzling Mirage (2014)
• The Inheritors
Taiwo Lycett Ajai also featured in a movie, Oloibiri, a 2016 Nigerian action thriller film directed by Curtis Graham, produced by Rogers Ofime with the cast of Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Olu Jacobs and Richard Mofe Damijo. The movie tells a story on how government agencies in collaboration with oil companies exploited the historic town, Olobiri where oil was first discovered in Nigeria.
In 1975, Lycett was invited to join the staff of Africa Magazine published by Ralph Uwechue. Later, she became the pioneer editor of Africa Woman magazine, a women’s magazine for Africans in the diaspora.
Lycett was a participant at the United Nations International Women’s Year.
Awards and honours
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett is a recipient of several awards and honours notably as:
• Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), a National Honour decorated by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on October 1, 2006.
• Honoured as a Leader of British-African Theatre, alongside Dotun Adebayo and Yemi Ajibade in February 2008 at an All-Star Gala held at Theatre Royal Stratford East during the 10th anniversary of Tiata Fahodzi
• She is also a Fellow of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA).
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett married with grown up children but now a widow.
Her Net Worth
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett is one the highly celebrated Nigerian actresses, rated one of the richest and most influential with a net worth of about $1 million dollars.