I loved going to the University of Lagos Auditorium with my mother to watch performances presented by the University’s Centre for Arts and Cultural Studies back in the 1980s. As a child, I was proud of all the bravery portrayed by my ‘ancestors’ in dramas like Langbodo and Kosoko. I was even more impressed by the flawless dancing and acting of the dramatists. Who else loved the brilliant view of The National Arts Theatre at night? We didn’t go there often though but of course FESTAC 77 took place here and a lot of popular dramas too.
From around my early teens, there was a shift towards home videos. So, we all sat at home and watched brilliant acting in Domitilla. Since then, the Nigerian Home Movie industry also known as Nollywood has become a force to be reckoned with. I was amazed recently when I found myself being quizzed by a Tesco delivery driver about how genuine the story lines were. I must admit I haven’t been particularly impressed by the content of most movies but there are a few good ones out there.
As you may imagine by now, you will not find a sky high pile of Nigerian movies in my living room as in many homes I visit but I will very willingly pick a home video based on our history or promoting wholesome societal values. In particular, I enjoyed Jenifa which was acted by a contemporary at University to condemn reckless unprotected sex and promiscuous livelihood among university female students.
I have also found Mainframe movies tend to appeal to me. The story lines promote sound societal values even if I don’t fancy how those that go against them in the movie are corrected or punished. Movies such as O le ku based on a story taking place in the University of Ibadan in the 1960s are a real treat for me. It was nice to hear songs my parents probably danced to and also see what fashion looked like in those days.
For me, I would like to see more Nigerian movies inspiring us to greatness and those that hit home where negative values have taken root. Imagine a movie that condemns contractors who take forever to finish projects or lecturers who don’t update their notes with recent findings. How about a movie based on the role Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo played in Nigeria’s Independence?
I don’t know how many Nigerian children today know about the War Against Indiscipline campaign that took place in the 80s or have been to the National Museum to see Muritala Mohammed’s bullet ridden car? How much of who we are in a positive light is being put on TV?
More content inspired by ‘the labours of our heroes past’ would be very much appreciated if not to live on past glory but to boost the confidence of the little ones living in the shadow of a 419 and terrorism image.