Meeting with the ghosts – Nigerian videos and their ancestral ties

Ugochukwu, Francoise (2009). Meeting with the ghosts – Nigerian videos and their ancestral ties. In: ASAUK Biennal Conference: The Presence of the Past? Africa in the 21st Century, 11-13 Sep 2008, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.



Since Haynes’s publication of Nigerian Video Films in 1997, the young Nigerian video production has seen a multiplication defying both statistics and established conventions. Offering a mix of urban scenes and village encounters, appealing to both youths and families, reaching out to local audiences in several Nigerian languages including Pidgin and Engligbo, these films have now spilled out of Nigeria to reach the rest of Africa and beyond. This production now attracts a growing number of scholarly papers, with most of the publications emanating from Nigeria and the US and focusing on linguistic features, the treatment of politics, violence and religion in the films, their presentation of women and urban centres or their reception outside the country. While most of those films, produced in Lagos, are set in large towns, usually Lagos, the ancestral village is nearly always the scene of at least one family encounter. Surprisingly, the place of the characters’ ancestral home in this production is yet to be fully investigated. This paper considers 25 video films – The Battle of Muzanga (1996), Echidime (1996), Evil Men (1998), Okosisi (1999), Earthquake (1999), Izaga (1999), Calabash (2000), Evil Forest (2000), Seeds of Bondage (2001), The Village Hunter (2001), Evil Seed (2001), Conspiracy (n.d), Allegation (2002), In the Beginning (2002), Pound of Flesh (2002), Peacemakers (2003), All My life (2004), Good News (2005), Moonlight (2005), Silence of the Gods (2006), Snake Girl (2006), My Mother’s Decision (2006), Divine Twins (2007), End of Pride (2007), Essence of Life (2007) - to evaluate the importance of the village in the scenarios, its cultural, traditional and religious input and the role it has so far been assigned by film directors.

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