Nigerian widows on screen: Reflections on a changing landscape

Ugochukwu, Françoise (2014). Nigerian widows on screen: Reflections on a changing landscape. Journal of Gender, Information and Development in Africa (JGIDA), 3(1-2) pp. 7–33.



The welfare of African widows has generated a significant amount of research within the past twenty years, mainly from Nigerian scholars having an insider’s knowledge of these practices, with female scholars often taking the lead. Recent years have seen scholars’ concerns spill over to the public arena, with a growing number of voices challenging long-established traditions associated with widowhood. This article briefly surveys the development of studies on this issue, focusing on Igboland, a linguistic and cultural area in southeastern Nigeria. It shows how these concerns have found their way into Nollywood films, considers the evolution of storylines and explores their links with societal trends, analyzing sixteen films produced between 1998 and 2013.

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