What do we want? Nollywood! When do we want it? Now!

 

Movies have a way of delving into our homes and hearts, conveying important messages, themes, social issues, morals and great acting. Directors push the boundaries, question certain restrictions and spark debate over social, personal and political issues. This is no different for the world’s 3rd largest film industry in the world… Nollywood. 

http://b.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2013/03/3006695-inline-174-nollywood-2.jpg
http://b.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2013/03/3006695-inline-174-nollywood-2.jpg

With hundreds of films being churned out on low budgets, basic and amateur equipment and taking only 10 days to produce a film, Nollywood films possess a strong sense of realism, reflecting, raising awareness and questioning current issues. Nollywood films aren’t generally viewed in the traditional way we in Australia are used to. Instead of sitting in the lounge room with just your family watching a film, the streets of Lagos become the loungerooms of Nigeria. This ‘street audience’ that occurs on the street corners bring people together to engage with eachother and the film (Okome, 2007). Popular culture, in Hollywood or Nollywood, helps with the ‘construction of identity (in relation to) environment’ and is ‘locus of public debate and of individual and community agency’ (Abah, 2009).

Nigeria is plagued by corruption, and their is a strong desire for social change. According to Abah, social change occurs through ‘communication, coordination and collective action by groups of citizens who wish to change institutions and policies which govern them’ (p 737, 2009) Because of the amount of people who access Nollywood films, the way in which they engage with them, independency from government, potentially allows Nollywood to act as a mediator to generate and encourage social change and improve the democratic process by providing a ‘progressive outlook; equitable distribution of power, curb injustice and the enforcement of civil and sexual rights’ (Abah, p 738, 2009).

http://www.nigeriaintel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bring-Back-Our-Girls.jpg
http://www.nigeriaintel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Bring-Back-Our-Girls.jpg

Media, especially film has the potential to create social change not just in Nigeria but across the globe. The sense of unity created through national film industries can strengthen communities an countries and together can create change. It is far easier in a place like Australia or America where we are influenced by liberal Hollywood cinema where we have better democratic processes, unlike Nigeria where corruption, lack of education and poverty intervene with citizens power to act on their ideas. As Nollywood gets stronger and stronger, so will the citizens of Nigeria, allowing Nollywood films to mediate and encourage the country’s much needed social change.

References

Welcome to Nollywood – Trailer – YouTube. 2014. Welcome to Nollywood – Trailer – YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSNC5UIdj0I. Accessed 28 August 2014

Okome, O 2007 Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption, Postcolonial Text, Vol 3, University of Alberta.

Abah, A.L. 2009, “Popular culture and social change in Africa: the case of the Nigerian video industry”, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 731-748.http://mcs.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/31/5/731, Accessed 28 August 2014

Bring Back Our Girls, Bring Forth Your Support

#Bringbackourgirls

Bring Back Our Girls has been a twitter phenomenon, capturing global attention on the 234 Nigerian school girls missing due to internal terrorist regimes. This horrendous incident occurred on the 15th April, taking a few weeks for awareness to capture the world. I became aware of this movement a week ago and have since actively followed, retweeted and researched the development of the #bringbackourgirls.

Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529
Malala Yousafzai showing her support. Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529

I personally support and participate in this online ‘clicktivism’ because being a young woman in the 21st century, I know and believe that education should be granted to all, regardless of race, religion, culture or gender. With the admiration of activist Malala Yousafzai and her powerful words “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons,” (Yousafzai, 2013)I hope to one day be an activist involved with human and especially women’s rights. 

Clicktivism is the online activity of sharing, liking, commenting, retweeting information about a concern or cause, whereas activism is the physical act of doing something such as protesting. (thetrashlab, 2013) Despite the criticisms of clictivism being ‘slacktivists’, activism would not be possible without the online support of the clicktivists.

However, here I am, sitting at my computer screen, here in Australia, and not in Nigeria protesting and pressuring the government on a physical level. But does that mean that my support is insignificant? Despite the fact I may just be involved in the ‘clictivism,’ creating awareness is the biggest and most difficult step in order to make a difference. That’s why the involvement of high profile celebrities (as pictured below) furthermore perpetuates awareness and involvement.

 High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg
High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper
Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg

 Whilst I might not be able to make a physical contribution to the issue in Nigeria and I am absolutely privileged to have the freedom, rights and opportunities to attend university (which is even financially supported and encouraged by the government), I am able to fully appreciate and maximise the chances I have here in Australia. The youth of the world are the future, (Strauss, 2011) we have power and we have the ability to make change, whether it be online or in the real world.

 

Further Related Readings/Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsB2qtDaiRw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-grant/are-you-a-slacktivist_b_4390258.html

 

References

Yousafzai, M 2013, ‘Our books and pens are the most powerful weapons’, transcript United Nations, The Guardian, 12 July, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/12/malala-yousafzai-united-nations-education-speech-text

thetrashlab, 2013 Slactivists vs. Activists (online video), 15 April, viewed 07/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EQFKKJBjwE

Strauss, J 2011, Youth movement in a culture of hoplessness, Aljazeera, 8 October, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/occupywallstreet/2011/10/2011107172820297149.html