Looting Nollywood

Looting Nollywood

Pius Adesanmi

Last week, I travelled from my base in Ottawa, Canada to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was one of those dreadfully long trips that I have grudgingly come to accept over the years as an inevitable feature of my professional calling as a peripatetic man of culture. As I boarded the first flight in Ottawa, I made a mental map – as I always do – of how to fill up the void of time. I had an hour ahead of me to Washington DC, nine hours from Washington to Dakar, and another nine hours from Dakar to Johannesburg.

Ain't funny! Add to the distance the fact of not knowing how and where the pendulum of the international writing prize that was taking me to South Africa would swing. Only the thought that I would reunite with my bosom friend, Temitope Oni, a successful medical doctor in Durban whom I hadn't seen since the end of our Titcombe College days in 1987, made the distance bearable. Tope Oni would redefine the meaning of brotherhood, human bond, and loyalty for me in ways that I am still too positively emotional to talk about. He is a subject of another essay. Another day.

Suffice it to say that in such long-flight situations, I usually oscillate between nap time, reading time, writing time (my laptop's battery allowing), movie time, and alcohol time – with strong emphasis on the last. This time, I wish I had skipped movie time and concentrated on alcohol time. That would have spared me the agony and anger that did not abate until I landed in Johannesburg. My problem started when I picked up my assigned copy of the August 2010 edition of Sawubona, the in-flight magazine of South African Airways, to check the menu of movies.

As is the case with in-flight magazines, the movies and their summaries were classified under all kinds of genres and sub-headings. I noticed a subheading for South African movies and smiled in satisfaction. I had just found a reason to avoid Hollywood movies! I would watch all six South African movies in the package. At an average of two hours per movie, that should eat up enough hours of the trip to avoid boredom. For a second, my mind went to Goodluck Jonathan's fleet of nine presidential jets and uncountable helicopters and I chuckled, half-wishing that our rulers would at least have the decency to have an in-flight magazine proudly advertising Nigerian movies to the President and the usual suspects who burn our money on trips with him. But that would be expecting too much from those fellows. They are usually not into such minor issues as promoting brand Nigeria unless there are contracts to be awarded.

Two titles in the South African movies rubric of Sawubona immediately got my attention. Call it the itch of familiarity or the whiff of home. Call it the eponymous stirrings of recognition. Something about those titles gave me the sensation of a Molue conductor whose senses of smell and taste rev into action within a one-kilometre radius of a paraga seller: "My Last Ambition" and "Endless Tears". Those titles screamed Nollywood, oozed Nigeria. I mean, if a movie's got vaulting ambition in its title, we are either talking Kanayo O. Kanayo or Jim Iyke, right? If a movie says the tears are endless, there's got to be Stella Damasus somewhere around the corner, right? If it is love with a Harlequinish tinge, you expect Ramseh Nouah, Mike Ezuruonye, Van Vicker, Majid Michel, Desmond Elliot, Ini Edo, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Chika Ike, Oge Okoye, Stephanie Okereke, and Uche Jombo, right?

I made a mental note that I did not know that our South African friends had caught the bug of Nollywood-sounding titles. Then I watched the first movie, watched the second movie, as if in a trance, unable to believe what was going on right before my eyes. They were 100% Nollywood films alright. Not just Nollywood films. Original Nollywood flicks of the "Nnamdi Azikiwe street, Lagos and Iweka Road, Onitsha" variety. What the heck were they doing in the South African films rubric of Sawubona and being, in fact, introduced to the Washington-Dakar-Johannesburg passengers of South African Airways as part of that airline's combo of South African films? My unease and displeasure were further compounded by the fact Hollywood and Bollywood films got their due recognition of apposite categorization in the same magazine.

Of course I have spent too much time in the scholarship and politics of cultural appropriation and mainstreaming to dismiss what was going on as a simple case of ignorance on the part of the publishers of Sawubona. It just isn't possible that the publishers and editors of a magazine of Sawubona's standing wouldn't know the difference between South African films and Nollywood. I also was not of a sufficiently generous disposition to heap all the blame on that innocent and hard-working apprentice called Printer's Devil as we always do in Nigeria.

I decided to draw very heavy conclusions from that instance of the misclassification of two Nollywood films. After all, between South Africa and Nigeria, nothing is ever innocent. There are always patrimonial egos at work, endlessly playing out in the form of a will to continental dominance, especially in the arenas of politics and culture. The two countries are locked in enactments of identity underwritten by the desire of each to be Africa's synecdoche. In the context of the pathologies shaping relations between Nigeria and South Africa, I couldn't even put it beyond our friends from Nelson Mandela's kraal to expect the Nigerian cultural establishment to be grateful that they considered two Nollywood films worthy of classification as South African films and, above all, worthy to be shown on the trans-Atlantic flights of the continent's most prestigious national carrier.

Were the South Africans to go this arifin (contempt) route, they would be well within their rights. Sadly. I don't think we have mouth to talk – pardon that Yoru-English, it conveys the seriousness of the situation. After all, if the obtuse characters running your country prefer to organize a harem of nine presidential jets for themselves after running Nigeria Airways aground (Ethiopian Airlines has a fleet of ten jets for long range passenger services), who are you to complain if the South Africans decide to "help" by showing your films in their own national carrier albeit with a flagrant, in-your-face gesture of cultural appropriation?

The August 2010 edition of Sawubona that is at issue here was of course also in service on the Lagos-Johannesburg route of South African Airways throughout the month of August. Think of how many Nigerian state governors, senators, federal reps, and ministers would have flown South African Airways to Johannesburg in their endless money-guzzling jamborees to that country – where they learn absolutely nothing. Think of how many of them go a-partying in Lucky Igbinedion's mansion in Johannesburg (by the way, has Dimeji Bankole been on one of his ill-reflected jamborees to that location lately?). None of them noticed that Nollywood flicks were being advertised as South African movies in Sawubona? No, not one? Imagine what would have happened if Nigeria had a national carrier with an in-flight magazine proudly displaying Zola Maseko's fantastic flick, "A Drink in the Passage", as a Nigerian movie! There would have been hell to pay. South African officials in Nigeria would have claimed that the sky was falling. You see, they come from a part of the world where officials of the state understand the importance of culture.

The antipathy to Nollywood and its considerable powers of cultural inflection that enabled this instance of appropriation by Sawubona is, of course, not limited to Nigeria's obtuse rulers and the political élite. The Nigerian public's engagement of Nollywood – at a certain informed level of national cultural conversation - is often so massively overshadowed by ubiquitous complaints of mediocrity that I have been given to think that Nollywood has no greater enemy than the Nigerian culturati. Much of the endless prattle about mediocrity – underdeveloped plot and storylines, platitudinous acting – is not borne of a constructive urge. The prattle of course ignores the fact that, unlike Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood arose singularly from the genius of the Nigerian people and the devastating grind of the Nigerian street, in spite of the Nigerian establishment and not because of it. The Nigerian state is always an impediment to the genius of the Nigerian people. You build Nigeria against all the odds thrown in your path by our friends in Abuja.

To have given the world the third largest movie industry right out of the poverty of Nnamdi Azikiwe street and Iweka road, with zero support from the looters in Abuja; to have created the greatest single cultural force that has not only remapped ways of seeing the continent (apologies to John Berger) in a manner not seen since Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart reshaped ways of seeing Africa in the 1960s; to have opened up avenues for global black diasporic communities to plug into the continent via the power of the image – people no longer have to wait to die one bright morning in the Caribbean for their souls to fly away home to Guinée; Nollywood brings that ancestral home to them while alive; to have inflected and changed the nature of transnational black politics while editing films in rundown shacks illuminated by "oju ti NEPA" (thanks to Dr Ola Kassim of Toronto for bringing this device to my attention); this is what Nollywood has given the world out of nothing. The South Africans certainly know what they are appropriating. And why.



1 2
Looting Nollywood
Pius Adesanmi posted on 09-11-2010, 11:52:39 AM
The Nigerian public's engagement of Nollywood – at a certain informed level of national cultural conversation - is often so massively overshadowed by ubiquitous complaints of mediocrity that I have been given to think that Nollywood has no greater enemy than the Nigerian culturati.

Read full article
Re: Looting Nollywood
Abdulmumin ali posted on 09-11-2010, 11:52:39 AM

Looting Nollywood

Pius Adesanmi

Last week, I travelled from my base in Ottawa, Canada to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was one of those dreadfully long trips that I have grudgingly come to accept over the years as an inevitable feature of my professional calling as a peripatetic man of culture. As I boarded the first flight in Ottawa, I made a mental map – as I always do – of how to fill up the void of time. I had an hour ahead of me to Washington DC, nine hours from Washington to Dakar, and another nine hours from Dakar to Johannesburg.

Ain't funny! Add to the distance the fact of not knowing how and where the pendulum of the international writing prize that was taking me to South Africa would swing. Only the thought that I would reunite with my bosom friend, Temitope Oni, a successful medical doctor in Durban whom I hadn't seen since the end of our Titcombe College days in 1987, made the distance bearable. Tope Oni would redefine the meaning of brotherhood, human bond, and loyalty for me in ways that I am still too positively emotional to talk about. He is a subject of another essay. Another day.

Suffice it to say that in such long-flight situations, I usually oscillate between nap time, reading time, writing time (my laptop's battery allowing), movie time, and alcohol time – with strong emphasis on the last. This time, I wish I had skipped movie time and concentrated on alcohol time. That would have spared me the agony and anger that did not abate until I landed in Johannesburg. My problem started when I picked up my assigned copy of the August 2010 edition of Sawubona, the in-flight magazine of South African Airways, to check the menu of movies.

As is the case with in-flight magazines, the movies and their summaries were classified under all kinds of genres and sub-headings. I noticed a subheading for South African movies and smiled in satisfaction. I had just found a reason to avoid Hollywood movies! I would watch all six South African movies in the package. At an average of two hours per movie, that should eat up enough hours of the trip to avoid boredom. For a second, my mind went to Goodluck Jonathan's fleet of nine presidential jets and uncountable helicopters and I chuckled, half-wishing that our rulers would at least have the decency to have an in-flight magazine proudly advertising Nigerian movies to the President and the usual suspects who burn our money on trips with him. But that would be expecting too much from those fellows. They are usually not into such minor issues as promoting brand Nigeria unless there are contracts to be awarded.

Two titles in the South African movies rubric of Sawubona immediately got my attention. Call it the itch of familiarity or the whiff of home. Call it the eponymous stirrings of recognition. Something about those titles gave me the sensation of a Molue conductor whose senses of smell and taste rev into action within a one-kilometre radius of a paraga seller: "My Last Ambition" and "Endless Tears". Those titles screamed Nollywood, oozed Nigeria. I mean, if a movie's got vaulting ambition in its title, we are either talking Kanayo O. Kanayo or Jim Iyke, right? If a movie says the tears are endless, there's got to be Stella Damasus somewhere around the corner, right? If it is love with a Harlequinish tinge, you expect Ramseh Nouah, Mike Ezuruonye, Van Vicker, Majid Michel, Desmond Elliot, Ini Edo, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Chika Ike, Oge Okoye, Stephanie Okereke, and Uche Jombo, right?

I made a mental note that I did not know that our South African friends had caught the bug of Nollywood-sounding titles. Then I watched the first movie, watched the second movie, as if in a trance, unable to believe what was going on right before my eyes. They were 100% Nollywood films alright. Not just Nollywood films. Original Nollywood flicks of the "Nnamdi Azikiwe street, Lagos and Iweka Road, Onitsha" variety. What the heck were they doing in the South African films rubric of Sawubona and being, in fact, introduced to the Washington-Dakar-Johannesburg passengers of South African Airways as part of that airline's combo of South African films? My unease and displeasure were further compounded by the fact Hollywood and Bollywood films got their due recognition of apposite categorization in the same magazine.

Of course I have spent too much time in the scholarship and politics of cultural appropriation and mainstreaming to dismiss what was going on as a simple case of ignorance on the part of the publishers of Sawubona. It just isn't possible that the publishers and editors of a magazine of Sawubona's standing wouldn't know the difference between South African films and Nollywood. I also was not of a sufficiently generous disposition to heap all the blame on that innocent and hard-working apprentice called Printer's Devil as we always do in Nigeria.

I decided to draw very heavy conclusions from that instance of the misclassification of two Nollywood films. After all, between South Africa and Nigeria, nothing is ever innocent. There are always patrimonial egos at work, endlessly playing out in the form of a will to continental dominance, especially in the arenas of politics and culture. The two countries are locked in enactments of identity underwritten by the desire of each to be Africa's synecdoche. In the context of the pathologies shaping relations between Nigeria and South Africa, I couldn't even put it beyond our friends from Nelson Mandela's kraal to expect the Nigerian cultural establishment to be grateful that they considered two Nollywood films worthy of classification as South African films and, above all, worthy to be shown on the trans-Atlantic flights of the continent's most prestigious national carrier.

Were the South Africans to go this arifin (contempt) route, they would be well within their rights. Sadly. I don't think we have mouth to talk – pardon that Yoru-English, it conveys the seriousness of the situation. After all, if the obtuse characters running your country prefer to organize a harem of nine presidential jets for themselves after running Nigeria Airways aground (Ethiopian Airlines has a fleet of ten jets for long range passenger services), who are you to complain if the South Africans decide to "help" by showing your films in their own national carrier albeit with a flagrant, in-your-face gesture of cultural appropriation?

The August 2010 edition of Sawubona that is at issue here was of course also in service on the Lagos-Johannesburg route of South African Airways throughout the month of August. Think of how many Nigerian state governors, senators, federal reps, and ministers would have flown South African Airways to Johannesburg in their endless money-guzzling jamborees to that country – where they learn absolutely nothing. Think of how many of them go a-partying in Lucky Igbinedion's mansion in Johannesburg (by the way, has Dimeji Bankole been on one of his ill-reflected jamborees to that location lately?). None of them noticed that Nollywood flicks were being advertised as South African movies in Sawubona? No, not one? Imagine what would have happened if Nigeria had a national carrier with an in-flight magazine proudly displaying Zola Maseko's fantastic flick, "A Drink in the Passage", as a Nigerian movie! There would have been hell to pay. South African officials in Nigeria would have claimed that the sky was falling. You see, they come from a part of the world where officials of the state understand the importance of culture.

The antipathy to Nollywood and its considerable powers of cultural inflection that enabled this instance of appropriation by Sawubona is, of course, not limited to Nigeria's obtuse rulers and the political élite. The Nigerian public's engagement of Nollywood – at a certain informed level of national cultural conversation - is often so massively overshadowed by ubiquitous complaints of mediocrity that I have been given to think that Nollywood has no greater enemy than the Nigerian culturati. Much of the endless prattle about mediocrity – underdeveloped plot and storylines, platitudinous acting – is not borne of a constructive urge. The prattle of course ignores the fact that, unlike Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood arose singularly from the genius of the Nigerian people and the devastating grind of the Nigerian street, in spite of the Nigerian establishment and not because of it. The Nigerian state is always an impediment to the genius of the Nigerian people. You build Nigeria against all the odds thrown in your path by our friends in Abuja.

To have given the world the third largest movie industry right out of the poverty of Nnamdi Azikiwe street and Iweka road, with zero support from the looters in Abuja; to have created the greatest single cultural force that has not only remapped ways of seeing the continent (apologies to John Berger) in a manner not seen since Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart reshaped ways of seeing Africa in the 1960s; to have opened up avenues for global black diasporic communities to plug into the continent via the power of the image – people no longer have to wait to die one bright morning in the Caribbean for their souls to fly away home to Guinée; Nollywood brings that ancestral home to them while alive; to have inflected and changed the nature of transnational black politics while editing films in rundown shacks illuminated by "oju ti NEPA" (thanks to Dr Ola Kassim of Toronto for bringing this device to my attention); this is what Nollywood has given the world out of nothing. The South Africans certainly know what they are appropriating. And why.



..Read the full article
Re: Looting Nollywood
Dapxin posted on 09-11-2010, 11:52:39 AM

Looting Nollywood

Pius Adesanmi

Last week, I travelled from my base in Ottawa, Canada to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was one of those dreadfully long trips that I have grudgingly come to accept over the years as an inevitable feature of my professional calling as a peripatetic man of culture. As I boarded the first flight in Ottawa, I made a mental map – as I always do – of how to fill up the void of time. I had an hour ahead of me to Washington DC, nine hours from Washington to Dakar, and another nine hours from Dakar to Johannesburg.

Ain't funny! Add to the distance the fact of not knowing how and where the pendulum of the international writing prize that was taking me to South Africa would swing. Only the thought that I would reunite with my bosom friend, Temitope Oni, a successful medical doctor in Durban whom I hadn't seen since the end of our Titcombe College days in 1987, made the distance bearable. Tope Oni would redefine the meaning of brotherhood, human bond, and loyalty for me in ways that I am still too positively emotional to talk about. He is a subject of another essay. Another day.

Suffice it to say that in such long-flight situations, I usually oscillate between nap time, reading time, writing time (my laptop's battery allowing), movie time, and alcohol time – with strong emphasis on the last. This time, I wish I had skipped movie time and concentrated on alcohol time. That would have spared me the agony and anger that did not abate until I landed in Johannesburg. My problem started when I picked up my assigned copy of the August 2010 edition of Sawubona, the in-flight magazine of South African Airways, to check the menu of movies.

As is the case with in-flight magazines, the movies and their summaries were classified under all kinds of genres and sub-headings. I noticed a subheading for South African movies and smiled in satisfaction. I had just found a reason to avoid Hollywood movies! I would watch all six South African movies in the package. At an average of two hours per movie, that should eat up enough hours of the trip to avoid boredom. For a second, my mind went to Goodluck Jonathan's fleet of nine presidential jets and uncountable helicopters and I chuckled, half-wishing that our rulers would at least have the decency to have an in-flight magazine proudly advertising Nigerian movies to the President and the usual suspects who burn our money on trips with him. But that would be expecting too much from those fellows. They are usually not into such minor issues as promoting brand Nigeria unless there are contracts to be awarded.

Two titles in the South African movies rubric of Sawubona immediately got my attention. Call it the itch of familiarity or the whiff of home. Call it the eponymous stirrings of recognition. Something about those titles gave me the sensation of a Molue conductor whose senses of smell and taste rev into action within a one-kilometre radius of a paraga seller: "My Last Ambition" and "Endless Tears". Those titles screamed Nollywood, oozed Nigeria. I mean, if a movie's got vaulting ambition in its title, we are either talking Kanayo O. Kanayo or Jim Iyke, right? If a movie says the tears are endless, there's got to be Stella Damasus somewhere around the corner, right? If it is love with a Harlequinish tinge, you expect Ramseh Nouah, Mike Ezuruonye, Van Vicker, Majid Michel, Desmond Elliot, Ini Edo, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Chika Ike, Oge Okoye, Stephanie Okereke, and Uche Jombo, right?

I made a mental note that I did not know that our South African friends had caught the bug of Nollywood-sounding titles. Then I watched the first movie, watched the second movie, as if in a trance, unable to believe what was going on right before my eyes. They were 100% Nollywood films alright. Not just Nollywood films. Original Nollywood flicks of the "Nnamdi Azikiwe street, Lagos and Iweka Road, Onitsha" variety. What the heck were they doing in the South African films rubric of Sawubona and being, in fact, introduced to the Washington-Dakar-Johannesburg passengers of South African Airways as part of that airline's combo of South African films? My unease and displeasure were further compounded by the fact Hollywood and Bollywood films got their due recognition of apposite categorization in the same magazine.

Of course I have spent too much time in the scholarship and politics of cultural appropriation and mainstreaming to dismiss what was going on as a simple case of ignorance on the part of the publishers of Sawubona. It just isn't possible that the publishers and editors of a magazine of Sawubona's standing wouldn't know the difference between South African films and Nollywood. I also was not of a sufficiently generous disposition to heap all the blame on that innocent and hard-working apprentice called Printer's Devil as we always do in Nigeria.

I decided to draw very heavy conclusions from that instance of the misclassification of two Nollywood films. After all, between South Africa and Nigeria, nothing is ever innocent. There are always patrimonial egos at work, endlessly playing out in the form of a will to continental dominance, especially in the arenas of politics and culture. The two countries are locked in enactments of identity underwritten by the desire of each to be Africa's synecdoche. In the context of the pathologies shaping relations between Nigeria and South Africa, I couldn't even put it beyond our friends from Nelson Mandela's kraal to expect the Nigerian cultural establishment to be grateful that they considered two Nollywood films worthy of classification as South African films and, above all, worthy to be shown on the trans-Atlantic flights of the continent's most prestigious national carrier.

Were the South Africans to go this arifin (contempt) route, they would be well within their rights. Sadly. I don't think we have mouth to talk – pardon that Yoru-English, it conveys the seriousness of the situation. After all, if the obtuse characters running your country prefer to organize a harem of nine presidential jets for themselves after running Nigeria Airways aground (Ethiopian Airlines has a fleet of ten jets for long range passenger services), who are you to complain if the South Africans decide to "help" by showing your films in their own national carrier albeit with a flagrant, in-your-face gesture of cultural appropriation?

The August 2010 edition of Sawubona that is at issue here was of course also in service on the Lagos-Johannesburg route of South African Airways throughout the month of August. Think of how many Nigerian state governors, senators, federal reps, and ministers would have flown South African Airways to Johannesburg in their endless money-guzzling jamborees to that country – where they learn absolutely nothing. Think of how many of them go a-partying in Lucky Igbinedion's mansion in Johannesburg (by the way, has Dimeji Bankole been on one of his ill-reflected jamborees to that location lately?). None of them noticed that Nollywood flicks were being advertised as South African movies in Sawubona? No, not one? Imagine what would have happened if Nigeria had a national carrier with an in-flight magazine proudly displaying Zola Maseko's fantastic flick, "A Drink in the Passage", as a Nigerian movie! There would have been hell to pay. South African officials in Nigeria would have claimed that the sky was falling. You see, they come from a part of the world where officials of the state understand the importance of culture.

The antipathy to Nollywood and its considerable powers of cultural inflection that enabled this instance of appropriation by Sawubona is, of course, not limited to Nigeria's obtuse rulers and the political élite. The Nigerian public's engagement of Nollywood – at a certain informed level of national cultural conversation - is often so massively overshadowed by ubiquitous complaints of mediocrity that I have been given to think that Nollywood has no greater enemy than the Nigerian culturati. Much of the endless prattle about mediocrity – underdeveloped plot and storylines, platitudinous acting – is not borne of a constructive urge. The prattle of course ignores the fact that, unlike Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood arose singularly from the genius of the Nigerian people and the devastating grind of the Nigerian street, in spite of the Nigerian establishment and not because of it. The Nigerian state is always an impediment to the genius of the Nigerian people. You build Nigeria against all the odds thrown in your path by our friends in Abuja.

To have given the world the third largest movie industry right out of the poverty of Nnamdi Azikiwe street and Iweka road, with zero support from the looters in Abuja; to have created the greatest single cultural force that has not only remapped ways of seeing the continent (apologies to John Berger) in a manner not seen since Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart reshaped ways of seeing Africa in the 1960s; to have opened up avenues for global black diasporic communities to plug into the continent via the power of the image – people no longer have to wait to die one bright morning in the Caribbean for their souls to fly away home to Guinée; Nollywood brings that ancestral home to them while alive; to have inflected and changed the nature of transnational black politics while editing films in rundown shacks illuminated by "oju ti NEPA" (thanks to Dr Ola Kassim of Toronto for bringing this device to my attention); this is what Nollywood has given the world out of nothing. The South Africans certainly know what they are appropriating. And why.



..Read the full article
Re: Looting Nollywood
Agidimolaja posted on 09-12-2010, 01:16:45 AM
Nollywood! I hate that word, it stinks.Why Nollywood? Why can't we just call our own growing movie industry by our own kind of name instead of going back again to get mixed up withwhite boys term or becoming Indians' copycats just because Indians named theirs "Bollywood"?

We are possibly going to remain enslaved to white boys forever.
Re: Looting Nollywood
Ebe posted on 09-12-2010, 20:47:20 PM
Pius, the looting of Nollywood, as you call it, is only a symptom of the ambivalent South African engagement with Nigeria and the rest of Africa. I know that you've wrestled with this larger question in another essay. South Africans shamelessly appropriate the cultural assets of Nigeria and other African countries while actively and proactively distancing themselves from the citizens and miseries of those countries. It appears that there is, in the post-Apartheid South African psyche, a tension between the jealous protection of the markers of South African socio-economic exceptionalism and exclusivity and the reluctant embrace of racial and geographical solidarities thrust upon them by history and the reality of transnational politics. This is what is manifesting in the "looting of Nollywood." They want to pick and choose the arenas in which they enact their Africanness while retaining the prerogative of rejecting and Othering the intrusive humanities and the stereotypical social narratives of the rest of Africa. How this tension will ultimately be resolved is unclear. But as long as South Africans cannot make up their minds about how and where to embrace their Africanness and whether or not to continue to invest in the inherited discourse of South African exceptionalism, they will continue to strategically "loot" the cultural resources of other African countries----resources that they cannot ignore because of their global provenance but the national origin of which they are loathe to proclaim lest their rejected cultural affinities with the rest of Africa is reasserted. So they will South-Africanize these resources to disguise their cultural origin in order to preserve the self-narration of being of being the only transcendental carrier and conveyor of sophisticated cultural goods from Africa to the world.

I had a conversation with Kenyan literary critic and Professor of Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, James Ogude, several years ago in which he told of how his black South African students who were traveling to another African country would say they were traveling to Africa. He would promptly ask them which continent there were in. Go figure!
Re: Looting Nollywood
Ebe posted on 09-12-2010, 20:47:20 PM
Pius, the looting of Nollywood, as you call it, is only a symptom of the ambivalent South African engagement with Nigeria and the rest of Africa. I know that you've wrestled with this larger question in another essay. South Africans shamelessly appropriate the cultural assets of Nigeria and other African countries while actively and proactively distancing themselves from the citizens and miseries of those countries. It appears that there is, in the post-Apartheid South African psyche, a tension between the jealous protection of the markers of South African socio-economic exceptionalism and exclusivity and the reluctant embrace of racial and geographical solidarities thrust upon them by history and the reality of transnational politics. This is what is manifesting in the "looting of Nollywood." They want to pick and choose the arenas in which they enact their Africanness while retaining the prerogative of rejecting and Othering the intrusive humanities and the stereotypical social narratives of the rest of Africa. How this tension will ultimately be resolved is unclear. But as long as South Africans cannot make up their minds about how and where to embrace their Africanness and whether or not to continue to invest in the inherited discourse of South African exceptionalism, they will continue to strategically "loot" the cultural resources of other African countries----resources that they cannot ignore because of their global provenance but the national origin of which they are loathe to proclaim lest their rejected cultural affinities with the rest of Africa is reasserted. So they will South-Africanize these resources to disguise their cultural origin in order to preserve the self-narration of being of being the only transcendental carrier and conveyor of sophisticated cultural goods from Africa to the world.

I had a conversation with Kenyan literary critic and Professor of Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, James Ogude, several years ago in which he told of how his black South African students who were traveling to another African country would say they were traveling to Africa. He would promptly ask them which continent there were in. Go figure!
Re: Looting Nollywood
Chanchaga posted on 09-13-2010, 12:38:16 PM
I am intrigued by the article because I am a great fan of Nollywood. That is the only indigenous thing apart from the music keeping our society happy. Nothing works, everything is getting worse and even sports that use to give us a little glory has gone down the drain.

Nollywood films are the only affordable forms of entertainment and aspect that permits family cohesiveness. This cuts across all levels of social classes in Nigeria and also Nigerians living abroad.

Nothing works, no jobs, bad roads, pressure on the masses and continued looting by the political and social elites. We need to hold tight to our not so perfect film industry and improve it, protect it and exploit it to our advantage.

This industry cannot only be a form of revenue in the future but it can go a long way at repairing our image and improving tourism. Can you imagine when we move from low budget home video to high end film production? It will be explosive. I admire the guys in the industry and hope a sane government can look beyond and assist this industry. As we stand now, many countries in the world have a sneak preview of Nigeria and its culture. This is what are missions abroad do not have the ability to achieve.

Thank you Nollywood
Re: Looting Nollywood
Klint710 posted on 09-22-2010, 14:29:24 PM
Thank you Nollywood.
Re: Looting Nollywood
Awunor augustine posted on 09-26-2010, 02:41:26 AM
We can say that they do not have the government attention at the commencement but i watched in AIT when a woman senator ( Daughter of a rich Nigerian) moved a motion to protect the interest of Nollywood from paying huge tax of $5000 to ghana government required of them before producing each film in Ghana. i watched the debate and feel those senators were patriotic on their resolution.. one of them said "ghana a small country". Perharps they are not aware of this "sabowuna"development but am sure they can act on it.
Am not defending Nigerian Govt. infact am one of the most unfavoured Nigerian. My father died due to to lack of solid hospital to secure solid treatment in the village. Infact i dont know my father. i ve also been raped by nigerian govt.
However, i am aware of the influence of the Nigerian film industry. In Belgium, one fine black girl from Rwanda approached me when she learnt am Nigeria, just to ask if i d got some Nigerian films, i was proud but i did nt have. when i got to nigeria again, I packed dozens of it for the girl.......
Re: Looting Nollywood
Tamedu2 posted on 10-29-2010, 15:01:34 PM
@ Awunor, una pack dozen 9ja films to score wit di girl...lol. Trust 9ja man to tink quick and fast.

Oga Pius, una tank yu for di piece wey una write o jare. When una reaash South Africa, una no see say na mainly 9ja movies dem dey play for Africa Magic? Dem no dey give credit to Nollywood for dat o. I fit bet say dem no dey pay anyting for those movies sef.

Weda na Nollywood or Naijawood or any wood sef, di name no matter so much. Di korokoro truth na say na from scratch dem build dis one industry for 9ja. Na wen those ghanaians, kenyans and odas see say di ting don take off, dem com dey take style style dey do kopi kat. And di Abuja gofament nko, wia dem dey...dem dey call ghana small country...dem for ask demsefs wetin dey make 9ja directors dey go shoot for ghana in di first place....No be bicos light no dey, water no dey, road no dey, gofament no dey?
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