Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, overtook its rival, South Africa, as the continent’s largest economy two years ago, thanks in part to the film industry’s explosive growth. Nollywood is an expression of boundless Nigerian entrepreneurialism and the nation’s self-perception as the natural leader of Africa, the one destined to speak on the continent’s behalf.While Nigerian movies used to be distributed largely on videocassette, now they are often streamed by satellite services. Fascinating.
“The Nigerian movies are very, very popular in Tanzania, and, culturally, they’ve affected a lot of people,” said Songa wa Songa, a Tanzanian journalist. “A lot of people now speak with a Nigerian accent here very well thanks to Nollywood. Nigerians have succeeded through Nollywood to export who they are, their culture, their lifestyle, everything.”
Nollywood generates about 2,500 movies a year, making it the second-biggest producer after Bollywood in India, and its films have displaced American, Indian and Chinese ones on the televisions that are ubiquitous in bars, hair salons, airport lounges and homes across Africa.
The industry employs a million people — second only to farming — in Nigeria, pumping $600 million annually into the national economy, according to a 2014 report by the United States International Trade Commission. In 2002, it made 400 movies and $45 million.
Nollywood resonates across Africa with its stories of a precolonial past and of a present caught between village life and urban modernity. The movies explore the tensions between the individual and extended families, between the draw of urban life and the pull of the village, between Christianity and traditional beliefs. For countless people, in a place long shaped by outsiders, Nollywood is redefining the African experience.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Nollywood, or, African Transforming
Wonderful article by Norimitsu Onishi about Nigeria's booming film industry: