Portrayal of Religion in Nollywood Films      by Sarah Reichle
Portrayal of Religion in Nollywood Films      by Sarah Reichle
Agenda• Media and the film industry in Nigeria• The rise of Nollywood• Religion in Nigeria• Christian influence in Nollywood...
“Nollywood! You know, the sheer entertainment value of what we’re doingis amazing. Unprecedented. People find it   interest...
Film in Nigeria• Traditionally, there was only celluloid  film in Nigeria• Western and church-related films to  educate Nige...
Rise of Nollywood• Third largest film industry in the world• Approximately 50 movies produced each  week• Gross is an estim...
Brief Overview of Religion in Nigeria• Igbo people and Christianity• Hausa people and Islam• Mixture of Christianity and i...
Brief Overview of Religion in Nigeria      “The Bible is the sacred book of     Christianity, and the Qur’an is the    boo...
Religion in Nigeria Today                              Religious beliefs in Nigeria:                               Indigen...
Definitions• Voodoo• Juju• Sharia Law
Christianity• Mostly Igbo-dominated English  language video industry• Catering to the religious majority• “the church is u...
Mind Game                        aka Sexy Game• story of a recently  married, born-again  Christian couple• “Her worst nig...
Traditional African Religions• Industry began in 1992 with Living In Bondage  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr7wDcyoIsE...
Traditional African Religions                 “I don’t see anything wrong in                    doing a film on rituals… It...
Traditional African Religions     “Movies that portray                  “You can have stories that talk  superstition, wit...
Traditional African Religions In a study of the Nigerian film audience,  it was found that although they believe too much e...
Islam• 50% of Nigerians are Muslim• Many Nollywood themes are in direct  opposition with the Muslim faith• Kano, located i...
Hausa Video Films• Not as popular as   Nollywood• Moral, preachy messages  • Ta Bayyana  • Farida Jalal• Heavily influenced...
Hausa Video Films  “The government did not ban songs. You can sing.  Even in Hausa culture there is singing and dancing,bu...
Hausa Video Films   “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. Youwill see young girls and boys in real  ...
References      Abah, A. L. (2009). Popular culture and social change in Africa: The case of the Nigerian video industry. ...
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Unit 2 - Religion in Nollywood

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  • On the cover slide, I would just say how we have already seen in documentaries in class, have read in articles, and have possibly seen in the movies we watched, that religion is a central theme in many Nollywood films. I chose to explore this topic deeper and focus on the portrayal of religion in Nollywood films. This is a screenshot from a Nollywood movie dealing with voodoo and witchcraft but I couldn’t find out which film exactly.\n
  • First, I’ll briefly go over the media and film industry in Nigeria. Then I’ll talk about the success of Nollywood and the films’ audiences in African and with Diaspora populations. Next, I’ll delve into my topic with a short overview of religious history in Nigera and the religious demographics of the country today. Then I’ll discuss the Christian influence in Nollywood and how major religions are portrayed onscreen.\n
  • I came across this quote in an article by Trenton Daniel where he sits down and has a converstation about Nollywood and its influence with a couple prominent Nollywood directors, actors and producers. Ajoke Jacobs, a prominent Nollywood actress, said this and I just thought it showed Nigerian’s pride in the industry so well. Nollywood is a completely Nigerian industry. It is not trying to emulate Western films and that is probably the reason the films are so popular in Nigeria and throughout Africa.\n\nReferences:\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n
  • The first films shown in Nigeria were usually made by Westerners or churches in order “to educate Nigerians about health, sanitation and nutrition” (Ebewo, 2007, p. 46). Then all films were recorded on celluloid during the 1960s, and were artistic films and elevated the quality of Nigerian film. However, they were not true Nigerian films since production and post-production overheads had to be paid for either in British pounds or US dollars. \n\nIn the 1980s, the Nigerian economy collapsed, effectively causing the collapse of the film industry as well. As a result of the downturn in the industry, a new one emerged -- Nollywood. Video replaced celluloid technology. \n\nReferences:\nEbewo, P. J. (2007). The emerging video film industry in Nigeria: Challenges and \nprospects. Journal of Film and Video, 59(3), 46-57.\n\nOlayiwola, A. (2007). From celluloid to video: The tragedy of the Nigerian film \nindustry. Journal of Film and Video, 59(3), 58-61.\n\n
  • Nollywood busted onto the scene in Nigeria in the 1990s and since then has become the world’s third largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood. The quality is very noticeably lower than Hollywood and Bollywood, and a typical Nollywood budget can be as low as $15,000. However, the industry can produce approximately 50 films per week and the audiences can watch them at just as quick of a pace. Nollywood movies are shown on buses, in cafes and on 24-hour Nollywood television stations. There are an integral part of the Nigerian cultural identity. \n\nThey are also popular because of the cultural identity present in the films. They are made by Nigerians and for Nigerians using Nigerian themes. The Nollywood industry also employs as many as 350,000 Nigerians and gives the country more economic independence over its media. \n\nReferences:\nEbewo, P. J. (2007). The emerging video film industry in Nigeria: Challenges and \nprospects. Journal of Film and Video, 59(3), 46-57.\n\nEsan, O. (2008). Appreciating Nollywood: Audiences and Nigerian 'films'. \nParticip@tions, 5(1).\n
  • To better understand what I’ll discuss in my presentation, it is important to first have a basic understanding of religious beliefs in Nigeria. Before foreign religions were introduced into Africa many many centuries ago, both through trade routes and colonialism, African Traditional Religion was the primary religion. Most Africans were converted from traditional religions to Islam or Christianity (Onuzulike, 2008).\n\nThe Igbo people of southern Nigeria are 99% Christian, while the Hausa people who dominate the north are 95% Muslim. Though they are only two of Nigeria’s many ethnic groups, Igbo and Hausa people make up the majority. Hausa people compromise almost 30 percent of Nigerians (Noy, 2008, p. 78).\n\nContemporary Christianity in Nigeria also still seems to “have a point of intersection with indigenous religious systems in the idea of the potency and operation of evil spiritual forces” (Oha, p. 192). For example, there is a belief in evil forces and spirits that attempt to hinder the work of God and Jesus. These spirits are also to blame many times for things such as poverty, barrenness, and divorce. \n\nOverall, in Nigeria, there are not strict lines between religions. Despite whether someone is Muslim or Christian, or whether you can find a church or mosque in every Nigerian town, indigenous African beliefs still persist and play a part in the religious identity of most Nigerians.\n\nAs African religious scholar John Mbiti states, “The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity, and the Qur’an is the book of Islam. African Religion has no scriptures or holy books. It is written in the history, the hearts and experiences of the people” (Onuzulike, 2008). This may be one of the reasons that these traditions are so engrained in the African people that they can still be noticed in contemporary Christian faiths.\n\nReferences:\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n\nOha, O. (2000). The rhetoric of Nigerian Christian videos. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 192-199). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center \nfor International Studies.\n\nOnuzulike, U. (2008). African crossroads: Conflicts between African Traditional \nReligion and Christianity. The International Journal of the Humanities, \n6(2).\n\nThe World Factbook: Nigeria. (2011, March 16). Retrieved from CIA website:\nhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html\n\n
  • To better understand what I’ll discuss in my presentation, it is important to first have a basic understanding of religious beliefs in Nigeria. Before foreign religions were introduced into Africa many many centuries ago, both through trade routes and colonialism, African Traditional Religion was the primary religion. Most Africans were converted from traditional religions to Islam or Christianity (Onuzulike, 2008).\n\nThe Igbo people of southern Nigeria are 99% Christian, while the Hausa people who dominate the north are 95% Muslim. Though they are only two of Nigeria’s many ethnic groups, Igbo and Hausa people make up the majority. Hausa people compromise almost 30 percent of Nigerians (Noy, 2008, p. 78).\n\nContemporary Christianity in Nigeria also still seems to “have a point of intersection with indigenous religious systems in the idea of the potency and operation of evil spiritual forces” (Oha, p. 192). For example, there is a belief in evil forces and spirits that attempt to hinder the work of God and Jesus. These spirits are also to blame many times for things such as poverty, barrenness, and divorce. \n\nOverall, in Nigeria, there are not strict lines between religions. Despite whether someone is Muslim or Christian, or whether you can find a church or mosque in every Nigerian town, indigenous African beliefs still persist and play a part in the religious identity of most Nigerians.\n\nAs African religious scholar John Mbiti states, “The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity, and the Qur’an is the book of Islam. African Religion has no scriptures or holy books. It is written in the history, the hearts and experiences of the people” (Onuzulike, 2008). This may be one of the reasons that these traditions are so engrained in the African people that they can still be noticed in contemporary Christian faiths.\n\nReferences:\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n\nOha, O. (2000). The rhetoric of Nigerian Christian videos. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 192-199). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center \nfor International Studies.\n\nOnuzulike, U. (2008). African crossroads: Conflicts between African Traditional \nReligion and Christianity. The International Journal of the Humanities, \n6(2).\n\nThe World Factbook: Nigeria. (2011, March 16). Retrieved from CIA website:\nhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html\n\n
  • Today in Nigeria, 50 percent of the population identifies as Muslim. These are primarily the Hausa people in the north of Nigeria. The central city of the Hausa people is Kano, where most Hausa and Muslim films are made.\n\nThe other religious majority in Nigeria are Christians. They make up approximately 40 percent of the population and mostly live in the south of Nigeria, including Lagos, the birthplace of Nollywood.\n\nThe other 10 percent of Nigerians still practice indigenous faiths.\n\n\nReferences:\nThe World Factbook: Nigeria. (2011, March 16). Retrieved from CIA website:\nhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html\n
  • Some definitions are also imporant to understand religious themes in Nollywood movies.\n\nVoodoo is a Traditional African Religion that was practiced prominently in southwest Nigeria. There is a heavy belief in spirits that govern nature and human society. \n\nJuju is another type of Traditional African Religion and refers to inanimate objects having supernatural powers. It can also refer to giving these inanimate objects some sort of power, in other words, witchcraft.\n\nSharia Law is the law of Islam, or the law of the Qur’an and governs all Muslims. \n\n
  • Nollywood is inherently Christian. Its Igbo founders were Christians and the main players in Nollywood today are still ethnic Igbos of Christian faiths. Although filmmakers may not be very religious, most Nigerians are somewhat religious and they are simply catering to their audience by using Christian themes. Religion is an integral part of life in Nigeria as we saw in the documentary Nollywood Babylon when the film crew was praying before they started shooting that day. So although there are other faiths present in Nigeria, Christianity is the prominent religion of Nollywood. We even saw during one documentary in class how Ramadan and the Muslim population was “interfering with the job” when the speakers of the mosque were too loud.\n\n\nReferences:\nKrings, M. (2005). Muslim martyrs and pagan vampires: Popular video films and\nthe propagation of religion in northern Nigeria. Postscripts: The Journal\nof Sacred Texts & Contemporary Worlds, 1, 183–205. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.phalkefactory.net/wiki/images/temp/8/8c/ \n\nOnuzulike, U. (2008). African crossroads: Conflicts between African Traditional \nReligion and Christianity. The International Journal of the Humanities, \n6(2).\n     20060916033114!Postscripts_1-2_1-3.pdf#page=39\n
  • Mind Game tells the story of Betty, a born-again Christian woman living in New York, who falls in love and marries a successful born-again Christian businessman named Richie. Four months later, the marriage still has not been consummated, with her husband coming up with every excuse not to touch her. Betty begins to worry and then she “gets entangled in her worst nightmare and all hell breaks loose one holy afternoon.” She finds Richie with another man. The film goes on to portray homosexuality basically... as evil. Richie tries to explain to his mother and his wife that he has tried praying but it is something he cannot change. In the trailer for the movie that I would show during the presentation, Richie tells Betty, “Its just the way I was born.” To which she replies, “That’s a lie from the pit of hell.”\n\n\nHowever, in the end, we find out that it was all just a dream that Betty was having and her husband really isn’t gay. I guess the slogan “Her worst nightmare” maybe gives it away a little bit, but it is almost as if they want to warn against the moral wrongs of homosexuality but do not want a born-again Christian character to actually admit to being homosexual. The movie also makes their moral opinion on the question of being whether or not people are born homosexual pretty clear.\n\n\nThere have also been other Nollywood movies with homosexual themes such as Hideous Affair, 4play, Men In Love and Dirty Secret. You can infer just from the titles how they might portray homosexuality and Christian moral views on homosexuality. \n\n\nAlso --- notice in the Sexy Game poster that the main actress’s head is on another woman’s body. Gotta love Nollywood.\n\nReferences:\nMovie review: Mind Game. (2011, January 10). Retrieved from Afrikcinepedia\nwebsite: http://afrikcinepedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/ \n     movie-review-mind-game.html\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • The first Nigerian film that really launched Nollywood, Living in Bondage, was made in 1992 and a center theme is the occult. The main character, Andy, sells his soul to the devil and kills his wife in a Satanic sacrifice in order to get out of poverty and have the material things he wants. His wife Merit’s ghost then begins haunting him. It is only in Living in Bondage II, when Andy is driven mad by his wife’s ghost and living out on the street eating worms that he finally finds Jesus and resolves all his problems (Daniel, 110). I would also show a very short part of the only scene of Living in Bondage that I could find on YouTube.\n\nOne of the most prominent religious themes in Nollywood films is the clash of old and new religions. The villain usually practices some sort of cultic or ritualistic traditional African religion while the Christians must triumph over this voodoo and juju. Usually the villain is then forgiven when he converts to Christianity. Another movie with these types of themes is Persecution. It tells the story of Ijiji, a young village hero who believes greatly in traditional African rituals. He disagrees and torments the Christians in the village because of their faith. In one scene, he plants a charm in the land where a church is to be built in an effort to prevent the construction. In the final scene, Ijiji gets in a motorcycle accident and is laying badly hurt on the side of the road. He is saved by a Christian doctor, who later converts him to Christianity. The epilogue of the movie states “Ijiji became a very strong Christian and he stopped persecuting the saints” (Onuzulike, 2007). \n\nThemes like this, where a ritualistic “bad guy” becomes a “good guy” with the guidance of Christianity, are very popular in Nollywood. In one film called Magic Money, a Christian pastor and an African traditional priest get in an argument and call out for the help of their respective Gods. They both dance around, but then the traditional priest is laid to the ground, overwhelmed by the more powerful Christian God.\n\nThere are many differing opinions about the use of rituals, witchcraft, juju, voodoo and traditional African religions in Nollywood films. Directors and producers argue that these rituals are a traditional part of African and Nigerian life, and since these movies are for Nigerians, they should reflect that. Aquila Njamah, a 28-year-old director, who often features themes of witchcraft and the supernatural in his films said, “You know, our grandfathers used to tell us stories about spirits and evil forests, about fighting the white man’s religion. The masses grew up with these stories, so naturally the most successful films have reflected that” (Daniel, 115). \n\nIn an article on the BBC, Nigerian Sola Odunfa writes that, “however large the following of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria, traditional religions still have a strong pull - especially in times of personal trouble or tragedy.” Other figures and directors in Nollywood mimic theses same sentiments such as, Lancelot, featured in the documentary Nollywood Babylon that we saw in class. \n\nThe great successes of these types of films are also a major reason that so many are made. Directors view it as a theme that is successful and will make money, so naturally they will continue to make more of these types of films. It can even be attributed to Living in Bondage, the first very successful Nollywood film involved rituals and superstition, so why wouldn’t another film with these same elements also be popular?\n\nHowever, there are critics, scholars and others who detest these elements of the occult in Nollywood films. Speaking at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film and Television Festival, Nay Nunoo Amarteifico, a mayor in Nigeria, said that, “movies that portray superstition, witchcraft and other beliefs make people in the western world who patronize them think that Africa is still in total blackout and does not know where it is heading towards” (Adamu, 2010, p. 43).\n\nTo balance out these two opinions, I looked at an audience research study by Eno Akpabio at the University of Botswana. The study used a survey that was handed out to 1,440 respondents in Nigeria to gauge whether or not they agreed with the critics and had a negative opinion of the themes in Nollywood films. It was found that the Nigerian audience has a positive view of Nollywood, despite the negative themes. However, the survey results also showed that the majority of respondents felt that there was “too much emphasis on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence” (Eno, 2007). It is important to note also, that these were all face-to-face interviews, so people may have felt socially pressured to say there was too much sex, violence, etc in Nollywood because as the sales can attest, Nigerians love Nollywood.\n\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian\nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema\nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution\n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nAkpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic \nJournal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.\n\nDaniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.\n\nKumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular \nNigerian video films (Master's thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, \nJohannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/ \nbitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD%20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2\n\nOdunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC \nNews. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11622271\n\nVasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from\nhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/world.features\n
  • As I said before, 50 percent of the Nigerian population is Muslim. When Nollywood and the video industry became the most common and popular form of entertainment in the 1990s, themes of sexuality, witchcraft, corruption and violence were spread through these films. These were in direct moral opposition with the Muslim faith but the popularity of the films could not be denied. Without movie theaters, significant television audiences and little Internet access, Nollywood films became overnight the primary entertainment medium for Nigerians.\n\nIn response to the growth of Nollywood, Muslims from the north of Nigeria, began their own video film industry in Kano (locally known as Kannywood), in order to circulate their own moral beliefs. \n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nThe World Factbook: Nigeria. (2011, March 16). Retrieved from CIA website:\nhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html\n
  • Hausa is the second most spoken language in Nigeria after English and the Hausa people make up a very large percentage of the population. Yet, Hausa films are not as popular in Nigeria as Nollywood. It not because of a lack of interest in film, Hausa people watch films in languages they cannot even understand like Chinese and Hindi, but most Hausa films include preachy, moral messages and do not incorporate the intensity and drama of Nollywood films. Therefore, it is only the Hausa people themselves who watch these films and they do not spread throughout the rest of the world and Africa, like Nollywood.\nIn Ta Bayyana, an illegitimate girl goes looking for her parents so she can marry. In the second part of the movie, Ta Bayyana II, she finally finds her parents and is rid of “the blemish of illegitimacy” and is able to marry. However, her parents are taken before an Islamic tribunal and each given 100 lashes because, according to Sharia law, illegitimacy is the parents’ sin (Noy, 80).\n\nPersonally, from this type of storyline, I could definitely see why these films aren’t popular outside of northern Nigeria and why someone would rather watch a Nollywood film. People do not like to be preached at while watching a movie, the purpose is for entertainment.\n\nHowever, Hausa films are also heavily influenced by Bollywood and do include song and dance routines, which seem at odds with the strict moral beliefs. There is a definite contradiction because the films have preachy moral messages but also portray the ‘negative’ aspects of ‘the corrupt southern Christian cultures.’ However, the Hausa filmmakers must introduce these elements into their films unless they want to be overtaken by Bollywood (or worse, to them, by Nollywood films from the south). The primary audience (70 percent) for these films are women, which is also a contradiction of the culture. Women relate to the stories in the films which include themes of forced marriages, threatened romances, and split loyalties between obedience and personal desire. The three most popular storylines for Hausa films are: love triangles, forced marriages and song and dance (Adamu, 68). Women hum and dance along to these movies in their private homes while the religion publicly condemns it. The films also influence how women wear headscarves, dress and how they interact in romantic situations. \n\nBut you cannot deny the moral and cultural strictness of the population. A popular Hausa actress, Farida Jalal, who won ‘Best Actress’ at the Hausa Awards, gave up acting at the age of 21 when she got married because “her husband would never agree to her continuing an acting career.” (Noy, p. 78). There are also a few women producers in Kannywood, but they are not able to leave the house to negotiate films so they are forced to hire men to do this which ends up costing them double what it would take a man to produce a film.\n\nSharia Law was then introduced into Northern Nigeria in 2000, and things in Kannywood have been even more difficult since then. The government created a censorship board to end the ‘indecency’ in Hausa film. The Kano State even tried to issue a decree that women and men had to be shot separately for musical scenes and the two then had to be edited together. The decree was never implemented but the state continues to censor films for too much contact or revealing clothing. However, Hausa filmmakers again stated that the films without a Western influence and only the preachy messages do not sell as well and they are only reflecting changing times. An actress put it simply and stated, “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. You will see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and getting down. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” (Adamu, 70)\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nJohnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for \nInternational Studies.\n\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n
  • Hausa is the second most spoken language in Nigeria after English and the Hausa people make up a very large percentage of the population. Yet, Hausa films are not as popular in Nigeria as Nollywood. It not because of a lack of interest in film, Hausa people watch films in languages they cannot even understand like Chinese and Hindi, but most Hausa films include preachy, moral messages and do not incorporate the intensity and drama of Nollywood films. Therefore, it is only the Hausa people themselves who watch these films and they do not spread throughout the rest of the world and Africa, like Nollywood.\nIn Ta Bayyana, an illegitimate girl goes looking for her parents so she can marry. In the second part of the movie, Ta Bayyana II, she finally finds her parents and is rid of “the blemish of illegitimacy” and is able to marry. However, her parents are taken before an Islamic tribunal and each given 100 lashes because, according to Sharia law, illegitimacy is the parents’ sin (Noy, 80).\n\nPersonally, from this type of storyline, I could definitely see why these films aren’t popular outside of northern Nigeria and why someone would rather watch a Nollywood film. People do not like to be preached at while watching a movie, the purpose is for entertainment.\n\nHowever, Hausa films are also heavily influenced by Bollywood and do include song and dance routines, which seem at odds with the strict moral beliefs. There is a definite contradiction because the films have preachy moral messages but also portray the ‘negative’ aspects of ‘the corrupt southern Christian cultures.’ However, the Hausa filmmakers must introduce these elements into their films unless they want to be overtaken by Bollywood (or worse, to them, by Nollywood films from the south). The primary audience (70 percent) for these films are women, which is also a contradiction of the culture. Women relate to the stories in the films which include themes of forced marriages, threatened romances, and split loyalties between obedience and personal desire. The three most popular storylines for Hausa films are: love triangles, forced marriages and song and dance (Adamu, 68). Women hum and dance along to these movies in their private homes while the religion publicly condemns it. The films also influence how women wear headscarves, dress and how they interact in romantic situations. \n\nBut you cannot deny the moral and cultural strictness of the population. A popular Hausa actress, Farida Jalal, who won ‘Best Actress’ at the Hausa Awards, gave up acting at the age of 21 when she got married because “her husband would never agree to her continuing an acting career.” (Noy, p. 78). There are also a few women producers in Kannywood, but they are not able to leave the house to negotiate films so they are forced to hire men to do this which ends up costing them double what it would take a man to produce a film.\n\nSharia Law was then introduced into Northern Nigeria in 2000, and things in Kannywood have been even more difficult since then. The government created a censorship board to end the ‘indecency’ in Hausa film. The Kano State even tried to issue a decree that women and men had to be shot separately for musical scenes and the two then had to be edited together. The decree was never implemented but the state continues to censor films for too much contact or revealing clothing. However, Hausa filmmakers again stated that the films without a Western influence and only the preachy messages do not sell as well and they are only reflecting changing times. An actress put it simply and stated, “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. You will see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and getting down. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” (Adamu, 70)\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nJohnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for \nInternational Studies.\n\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n
  • Hausa is the second most spoken language in Nigeria after English and the Hausa people make up a very large percentage of the population. Yet, Hausa films are not as popular in Nigeria as Nollywood. It not because of a lack of interest in film, Hausa people watch films in languages they cannot even understand like Chinese and Hindi, but most Hausa films include preachy, moral messages and do not incorporate the intensity and drama of Nollywood films. Therefore, it is only the Hausa people themselves who watch these films and they do not spread throughout the rest of the world and Africa, like Nollywood.\nIn Ta Bayyana, an illegitimate girl goes looking for her parents so she can marry. In the second part of the movie, Ta Bayyana II, she finally finds her parents and is rid of “the blemish of illegitimacy” and is able to marry. However, her parents are taken before an Islamic tribunal and each given 100 lashes because, according to Sharia law, illegitimacy is the parents’ sin (Noy, 80).\n\nPersonally, from this type of storyline, I could definitely see why these films aren’t popular outside of northern Nigeria and why someone would rather watch a Nollywood film. People do not like to be preached at while watching a movie, the purpose is for entertainment.\n\nHowever, Hausa films are also heavily influenced by Bollywood and do include song and dance routines, which seem at odds with the strict moral beliefs. There is a definite contradiction because the films have preachy moral messages but also portray the ‘negative’ aspects of ‘the corrupt southern Christian cultures.’ However, the Hausa filmmakers must introduce these elements into their films unless they want to be overtaken by Bollywood (or worse, to them, by Nollywood films from the south). The primary audience (70 percent) for these films are women, which is also a contradiction of the culture. Women relate to the stories in the films which include themes of forced marriages, threatened romances, and split loyalties between obedience and personal desire. The three most popular storylines for Hausa films are: love triangles, forced marriages and song and dance (Adamu, 68). Women hum and dance along to these movies in their private homes while the religion publicly condemns it. The films also influence how women wear headscarves, dress and how they interact in romantic situations. \n\nBut you cannot deny the moral and cultural strictness of the population. A popular Hausa actress, Farida Jalal, who won ‘Best Actress’ at the Hausa Awards, gave up acting at the age of 21 when she got married because “her husband would never agree to her continuing an acting career.” (Noy, p. 78). There are also a few women producers in Kannywood, but they are not able to leave the house to negotiate films so they are forced to hire men to do this which ends up costing them double what it would take a man to produce a film.\n\nSharia Law was then introduced into Northern Nigeria in 2000, and things in Kannywood have been even more difficult since then. The government created a censorship board to end the ‘indecency’ in Hausa film. The Kano State even tried to issue a decree that women and men had to be shot separately for musical scenes and the two then had to be edited together. The decree was never implemented but the state continues to censor films for too much contact or revealing clothing. However, Hausa filmmakers again stated that the films without a Western influence and only the preachy messages do not sell as well and they are only reflecting changing times. An actress put it simply and stated, “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. You will see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and getting down. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” (Adamu, 70)\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nJohnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for \nInternational Studies.\n\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n
  • Hausa is the second most spoken language in Nigeria after English and the Hausa people make up a very large percentage of the population. Yet, Hausa films are not as popular in Nigeria as Nollywood. It not because of a lack of interest in film, Hausa people watch films in languages they cannot even understand like Chinese and Hindi, but most Hausa films include preachy, moral messages and do not incorporate the intensity and drama of Nollywood films. Therefore, it is only the Hausa people themselves who watch these films and they do not spread throughout the rest of the world and Africa, like Nollywood.\nIn Ta Bayyana, an illegitimate girl goes looking for her parents so she can marry. In the second part of the movie, Ta Bayyana II, she finally finds her parents and is rid of “the blemish of illegitimacy” and is able to marry. However, her parents are taken before an Islamic tribunal and each given 100 lashes because, according to Sharia law, illegitimacy is the parents’ sin (Noy, 80).\n\nPersonally, from this type of storyline, I could definitely see why these films aren’t popular outside of northern Nigeria and why someone would rather watch a Nollywood film. People do not like to be preached at while watching a movie, the purpose is for entertainment.\n\nHowever, Hausa films are also heavily influenced by Bollywood and do include song and dance routines, which seem at odds with the strict moral beliefs. There is a definite contradiction because the films have preachy moral messages but also portray the ‘negative’ aspects of ‘the corrupt southern Christian cultures.’ However, the Hausa filmmakers must introduce these elements into their films unless they want to be overtaken by Bollywood (or worse, to them, by Nollywood films from the south). The primary audience (70 percent) for these films are women, which is also a contradiction of the culture. Women relate to the stories in the films which include themes of forced marriages, threatened romances, and split loyalties between obedience and personal desire. The three most popular storylines for Hausa films are: love triangles, forced marriages and song and dance (Adamu, 68). Women hum and dance along to these movies in their private homes while the religion publicly condemns it. The films also influence how women wear headscarves, dress and how they interact in romantic situations. \n\nBut you cannot deny the moral and cultural strictness of the population. A popular Hausa actress, Farida Jalal, who won ‘Best Actress’ at the Hausa Awards, gave up acting at the age of 21 when she got married because “her husband would never agree to her continuing an acting career.” (Noy, p. 78). There are also a few women producers in Kannywood, but they are not able to leave the house to negotiate films so they are forced to hire men to do this which ends up costing them double what it would take a man to produce a film.\n\nSharia Law was then introduced into Northern Nigeria in 2000, and things in Kannywood have been even more difficult since then. The government created a censorship board to end the ‘indecency’ in Hausa film. The Kano State even tried to issue a decree that women and men had to be shot separately for musical scenes and the two then had to be edited together. The decree was never implemented but the state continues to censor films for too much contact or revealing clothing. However, Hausa filmmakers again stated that the films without a Western influence and only the preachy messages do not sell as well and they are only reflecting changing times. An actress put it simply and stated, “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. You will see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and getting down. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” (Adamu, 70)\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nJohnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for \nInternational Studies.\n\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n
  • Hausa is the second most spoken language in Nigeria after English and the Hausa people make up a very large percentage of the population. Yet, Hausa films are not as popular in Nigeria as Nollywood. It not because of a lack of interest in film, Hausa people watch films in languages they cannot even understand like Chinese and Hindi, but most Hausa films include preachy, moral messages and do not incorporate the intensity and drama of Nollywood films. Therefore, it is only the Hausa people themselves who watch these films and they do not spread throughout the rest of the world and Africa, like Nollywood.\nIn Ta Bayyana, an illegitimate girl goes looking for her parents so she can marry. In the second part of the movie, Ta Bayyana II, she finally finds her parents and is rid of “the blemish of illegitimacy” and is able to marry. However, her parents are taken before an Islamic tribunal and each given 100 lashes because, according to Sharia law, illegitimacy is the parents’ sin (Noy, 80).\n\nPersonally, from this type of storyline, I could definitely see why these films aren’t popular outside of northern Nigeria and why someone would rather watch a Nollywood film. People do not like to be preached at while watching a movie, the purpose is for entertainment.\n\nHowever, Hausa films are also heavily influenced by Bollywood and do include song and dance routines, which seem at odds with the strict moral beliefs. There is a definite contradiction because the films have preachy moral messages but also portray the ‘negative’ aspects of ‘the corrupt southern Christian cultures.’ However, the Hausa filmmakers must introduce these elements into their films unless they want to be overtaken by Bollywood (or worse, to them, by Nollywood films from the south). The primary audience (70 percent) for these films are women, which is also a contradiction of the culture. Women relate to the stories in the films which include themes of forced marriages, threatened romances, and split loyalties between obedience and personal desire. The three most popular storylines for Hausa films are: love triangles, forced marriages and song and dance (Adamu, 68). Women hum and dance along to these movies in their private homes while the religion publicly condemns it. The films also influence how women wear headscarves, dress and how they interact in romantic situations. \n\nBut you cannot deny the moral and cultural strictness of the population. A popular Hausa actress, Farida Jalal, who won ‘Best Actress’ at the Hausa Awards, gave up acting at the age of 21 when she got married because “her husband would never agree to her continuing an acting career.” (Noy, p. 78). There are also a few women producers in Kannywood, but they are not able to leave the house to negotiate films so they are forced to hire men to do this which ends up costing them double what it would take a man to produce a film.\n\nSharia Law was then introduced into Northern Nigeria in 2000, and things in Kannywood have been even more difficult since then. The government created a censorship board to end the ‘indecency’ in Hausa film. The Kano State even tried to issue a decree that women and men had to be shot separately for musical scenes and the two then had to be edited together. The decree was never implemented but the state continues to censor films for too much contact or revealing clothing. However, Hausa filmmakers again stated that the films without a Western influence and only the preachy messages do not sell as well and they are only reflecting changing times. An actress put it simply and stated, “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. You will see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and getting down. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” (Adamu, 70)\n\nReferences:\nAdamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian \nvideo film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema \nin the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution \n(pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.\n\nJohnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), \nNigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for \nInternational Studies.\n\nNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The \nvideo phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana \nUniversity Press.\n
  • \n
  • Unit 2 - Religion in Nollywood

    1. 1. Portrayal of Religion in Nollywood Films by Sarah Reichle
    2. 2. Portrayal of Religion in Nollywood Films by Sarah Reichle
    3. 3. Agenda• Media and the film industry in Nigeria• The rise of Nollywood• Religion in Nigeria• Christian influence in Nollywood• Portrayal of religion in films • Christianity • Traditional African faiths • Islam, Hausa Video and Sharia Law
    4. 4. “Nollywood! You know, the sheer entertainment value of what we’re doingis amazing. Unprecedented. People find it interesting, because it’s about them.” - Ajoke Jacobs, Nollywood actress
    5. 5. Film in Nigeria• Traditionally, there was only celluloid film in Nigeria• Western and church-related films to educate Nigerians• Collapse of movie theatre culture in the 1980s Sources: Ebewo, Olayiwola
    6. 6. Rise of Nollywood• Third largest film industry in the world• Approximately 50 movies produced each week• Gross is an estimated $200 million per year• Popular because of cultural identity and economic independence Sources: Ebewo, Esan
    7. 7. Brief Overview of Religion in Nigeria• Igbo people and Christianity• Hausa people and Islam• Mixture of Christianity and indigenous beliefs
    8. 8. Brief Overview of Religion in Nigeria “The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity, and the Qur’an is the book of Islam. African Religion has no scriptures or holy books. It is written in the history, the hearts and experiences of the people.” - John Mbiti, African Religion scholar (Onuzulike, 2008)
    9. 9. Religion in Nigeria Today Religious beliefs in Nigeria: Indigenous Beliefs 10% Muslim Christian 50% 40%Northern Nigeria is mostlyMuslim while SouthernNigeria, where Lagos islocated, is primarily Source: CIA World FactbookChristian.
    10. 10. Definitions• Voodoo• Juju• Sharia Law
    11. 11. Christianity• Mostly Igbo-dominated English language video industry• Catering to the religious majority• “the church is used to liberate people from the shackles of witchcraft.” -film crew, Nollywood Babylon
    12. 12. Mind Game aka Sexy Game• story of a recently married, born-again Christian couple• “Her worst nightmare”• homosexuality theme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCFs6OwvDTQ Movie review: Mind Game. (2011, January 10). Retrieved from Afrikcinepedia.
    13. 13. Traditional African Religions• Industry began in 1992 with Living In Bondage • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr7wDcyoIsE • Living in Bondage 2• “Bad guys” and traditional rituals versus “good guys” and Christianity • Persecution• Propagating stereotypes?
    14. 14. Traditional African Religions “I don’t see anything wrong in doing a film on rituals… It exists… If you are not into it maybe, your mother is into it. If not your mother, maybe your father. It is integral in the life of a lot of Africans, but somehow people don’t want to talk about it. They think it’s dirty.” - Lancelot, Nollywood Babylon
    15. 15. Traditional African Religions “Movies that portray “You can have stories that talk superstition, witchcraft and on things like voodoo but other beliefs make people in when it is over done and made the western world who the centre of any offering, that patronize them think that is when it becomes a problemAfrica is still in total blackout because the more people seeand does not know where it is it, the more thay will think that heading towards.” our country is all about - Nay Nunoo Amarteifico voodoo practice.”at the Eighth Pan-African Students’ Film - Frank Nweke and Television Festival Nigerian Minister of Information (Adamu, 2010, p. 43). (Eno, 2007, p. 92).
    16. 16. Traditional African Religions In a study of the Nigerian film audience, it was found that although they believe too much emphasis is on cultic and fetish practices as well as sex and violence, they have a favorable opinion of Nollywood, despite its negative themes. (Eno, 2007)
    17. 17. Islam• 50% of Nigerians are Muslim• Many Nollywood themes are in direct opposition with the Muslim faith• Kano, located in the Muslim North of Nigeria• Locally known as Kannywood
    18. 18. Hausa Video Films• Not as popular as Nollywood• Moral, preachy messages • Ta Bayyana • Farida Jalal• Heavily influenced by Bollywood• Sharia Law
    19. 19. Hausa Video Films “The government did not ban songs. You can sing. Even in Hausa culture there is singing and dancing,but moderately. What the government did say is: youcannot have male and female dancing of this kind of dancing that is being shown in our movies. That kindof dancing where you see a lady half naked dancing with her breasts shaking—it’s not allowed… So thegovernment said no male and female dancing of such kind of useless dancing I am talking about. If you do that in your film, we will ask you to remove that.” - Kano State Censorship Board
    20. 20. Hausa Video Films “We are only reflecting what is happening in the real world. Youwill see young girls and boys in real life going to a party and gettingdown. If a film is to show all the girls in hijab and no getting down, I swear the film will flop.” - Hausa video actress
    21. 21. References Abah, A. L. (2009). Popular culture and social change in Africa: The case of the Nigerian video industry. Media, Culture & Society, 31(5), 731-748.Adamu, A. U. (2010). Islam, Hausa culture, and censorship in Northern Nigerian video film. In M. Şaul & R. A. Austen (Eds.), Viewing African cinema in the twenty-first century: Art films and the Nollywood video revolution (pp. 63-73). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.Akpabio, E. (2007). Attitude of audience members to Nollywood films. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 16(1), 90-100.Ayeni, C. O. (2003). Nigeria, status of media in. In Encyclopedia of international media and communications (pp. 351-362). USA: Elsevier Science.Daniel, T. (2004). Nollywood confidential, part 2. Transition, (95), 110-128.Ebewo, P. J. (2007). The emerging video film industry in Nigeria: Challenges and prospects. Journal of Film and Video, 59(3), 46-57.Esan, O. (2008). Appreciating Nollywood: Audiences and Nigerian ‘films’. Particip@tions, 5(1).Johnson, D. (2000). Culture and art in Hausa video films. In J. Haynes (Ed.), Nigerian video films (pp. 200-208). USA: Ohio University Center for International Studies.Krings, M. (2005). Muslim martyrs and pagan vampires: Popular video films and the propagation of religion in northern Nigeria. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts & Contemporary Worlds, 1, 183–205. Retrieved from http://www.phalkefactory.net/wiki/images/temp/ 8/8c/20060916033114!Postscripts_1-2_1-3.pdf#page=39Kumwenda, G. (2007). The portrayal of witchcraft, occults and magic in popular Nigerian video films (Master’s thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa). Retrieved from http://wiredspace.wits.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10539/4892/ETD %20RESEARCH%20REPORT.pdf?sequence=2Mhando, M. (2009). Globalization and African cinema: Distribution and reception in the anglophone region. Journal of African Cinemas, 1(1), 19-34.Movie review: Mind Game. (2011, January 10). Retrieved from Afrikcinepedia website: http://afrikcinepedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/movie- review-mind-game.htmlNoy, F. (2008). Hausa video & Sharia law. In P. Barrot (Ed.), Nollywood: The video phenomenon in Nigeria (pp. 78-84). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.Odunfa, S. (2010, October 26). Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world- africa-11622271Oha, O. (2000). The rhetoric of Nigerian Christian videos. In J. Haynes (Ed.), Nigerian video films (pp. 192-199). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies.Olayiwola, A. (2007). From celluloid to video: The tragedy of the Nigerian film industry. Journal of Film and Video, 59(3), 58-61.Olorunnisola, A. A., & Akanni, T. M. (2005). Nigeria. In A. Cooper-Chen (Ed.), Global entertainment media: Content, audiences, issues (pp. 99-114). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates.Onuzulike, U. (2008). African crossroads: Conflicts between African Traditional Religion and Christianity. The International Journal of the Humanities, 6(2).Vasagar, J. (2006, March 23). Welcome to Nollywood. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/23/ world.featuresThe World Factbook: Nigeria. (2011, March 16). Retrieved from CIA website: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ geos/ni.html

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