Nollywood, Nigerians’ umbilical cord

Ugochukwu, Francoise (2011). Nollywood, Nigerians’ umbilical cord. African Renaissance, 8(2) pp. 59–75.



Today, a significant 10% of the Nigerian diaspora live in the United Kingdom - probably the largest Nigerian community in Europe. Research carried out between January and March 2011 confirms the slow cultural erosion already reported by earlier studies and affecting Igbo and Yoruba resettled communities, with Nigerian languages on the decline. It also reveals the premium placed on communication among Nigerians, with 73.5% talking frequently to fellow Nigerians and watching Nigerian video films, massively preferred to foreign films. This paper seeks to evaluate the impact of Nigerian video-films among resettled communities in the UK and find the reasons behind the success of these films among Nigerians, focusing on Igbo and Yoruba speakers. It investigates the potential importance of language in viewers’ motivations and practices, the role played by the cultural message of the films in identity-reinforcement within the Nigerian community, and the impact of these video-films on the revival of cultural practices among diasporic groups. It shows that these films, acting like an umbilical cord feeding ‘abroad members’ with pictures and sounds from the home country, have empowered Nigerians to cope with their situation, reclaim their culture and keep in touch with their ancestral land.

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