Anglophone African media

by N. Frank Ukadike

from Jump Cut, no. 36, May 1991, pp. 74-80
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1991, 2006

In most English-speaking African countries, people have demanded what was variously called the "National Film Industry," "indigenous film production," or "national cinema" out of concern for what they regard as the undesirable socio-cultural and psychological impact of foreign films.[1][open notes in new window] Before independence (and in some cases the situation has not changed), foreigners totally controlled film distribution and exhibition. They imported films into English speaking African countries from the United States, Britain, China, Hong Kong or India. Needless to say, the films identified ideologically and aesthetically with the socio-cultural values of the producer nation — in all ramifications they are different from those produced on the African continent.

Black Africans realize that U.S. films pervade the market. For example, the Tarzan series, regardless of their negative impact on African culture as a whole, were exhibited with impunity. The most devastating cultural damage these films did to Africa was to instill in the minds of most of the viewers the "dominating image" of the white man over the African. Then came the impact of the westerns. The characters were always tough, fast-shooting horsemen — U.S. cowboys. Their main objective was to shoot and kill the American Indian by the thousands as the cowboys drove them from their land and slaughtered the buffalo. It is difficult to say if viewers' excitement paralleled the horrifying scenes, but the most disturbing aspect is that African youth acquired new attitudes from the movies. As one critic put it, "Every street had its Django and Palooka, while every 'tough guy' around saw himself as the undisputed double of John Wayne."[2] In Nigeria, Chinese films introduced martial arts which then became popular among Nigerian youth.

It is important to note that while the Indian and Kung Fu movies played in urban theaters, U.S. films had a double advantage — exhibiting in the theaters and also in mobile cinemas which penetrated every nook and cranny of the rural areas, The mobile cinema has been an integral arm of capitalistic, multi-national companies who use the cinema to reach villagers (who have no access to television or radio) to advertise their products. The operation begins with the mobile cinema van arriving in the village during the day, announcing through amplified loudspeakers the arrival of silima ofe (free cinema), scheduled for that evening. The venue is usually an open field — either a school compound or community ground. When potential customers pack the space, products are advertised (via oral announcements) followed by a film. Halfway through (or at times more than once depending on the length of the film) the film is stopped to enable the merchants to sell their goods to the audience. For most villagers silima ofe provided great entertainment and often their first opportunity to watch a moving image on screen.[3] But critics found drawbacks to this rural foray, as there were no warnings as to violence, sex, or obscene language on screen; silima ofe had no age restrictions.

The story of African cinema offers a lesson in struggle against bureaucratic and economic forces which began in colonial times and reaches into the present. In the anglophone region, the struggle for survival has a long history of expediency and entrepreneurial maneuverability, which makes film production activities quite different in purpose — politically or economically — from that of its counterpart, the francophone region.

Different patterns of film production within francophone and anglophone regions derive from the contrasting ideological pursuits of the colonial French and British governments. For example, while the French pursued a so-called assimilation policy. British involvement with its colonies was pragmatic business. Similarly, observers point out that while the French "gave" feature film to its colonies, the British "gave" theirs documentary. France seemed to adopt a cultural policy that encouraged production in the francophone region, whereas the anglophone region (where film production did not pass the economic priority test) resolved to cling to the British tradition of documentary filmmaking. And British documentary production in Africa emphasized selected areas of national concern; for instance, tourism, educational documentaries, and propaganda films, especially about the political engagement of heads of state and some high ranking government functionaries.

Clearly, these kinds of documentaries could not provide the bold challenge needed to combat the impact of foreign films, nor could they satisfy the appetite of citizens who see meaningful results emerging only from a well-coordinated national industry.

From this standpoint, television now finds itself unavoidably playing a dual role in the crusade for cultural justice. In a positive role, many of the television stations do produce culturally relevant programs. But with Africa's economic situation worsening, government funding of television programs and documentary films has been significantly cut, forcing the stations to operate on lower budgets, which hampers funding for innovative projects. Immediately after independence, television stations had not planned for adequate indigenous programming to fill their airtime. Consequently, foreign programs filled the vacuum.

Considering that television programming in these countries often serves to promote the narrow interests of the regime in power — civilian or military — television too often becomes the voice and praise-singer of governments, mingled with frugal doses of entertainment and instruction. In some cases that transcend this situation, we find programs of real interest motivating national consciousness. In most African states, finding a willing audience has never been a problem for locally produced television programs especially if they are authentic and devoid of apish Westemisms or indigenous banality.[4]

Ghana's television, considered as one of the legacies of the late president Kwame Nkrumah, was inaugurated in 1965, eight years after independence. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Television (GBC-TV), which had stopped issuing television licenses to the public, is now considering their restoration in the face of improved services.[5] The impetus television had at first seems to have been revived under the head of government Jerry Rawlings who expressed concern to combat "cultural colonialism" through cooperation with television writers and producers bent on using television to foster education and entertainment. For example, one of the oldest, OSOFO DADZIE, has been running since 1972 and continues to be GBC-TV's most watched program. This hour-long Sunday evening drama focuses on aspects of life in Ghanaian society. According to West Africa's critic, Nanabanyin Dadson, as long as the social vices which this program portrays "remain relevant," OSOFO DADZIE will continue to inspire Monday morning discussions "at work places, markets and schools."[6] Among the vices it describes are bribery, corruption, nepotism, profiteering and greed. The secret of its success seems to lie in the subtle humor with which it exposes the social ills and contradictions of this evolving society. In addition, its authentic local setting is so real — as one admirer put it — that people just cannot stop laughing at themselves.

With OSOFO DADZIE's popularity, GBC-TV has made some commercial incursions — dubbing the program and others onto video cassettes for distribution in Ghana and abroad. But this is "the fourth spin-off of the OSOFO DADZIE success, following live stage performances, publication of a comic strip series and the making of feature-length video films."[7] Administrators hope this enhanced profitability will relieve the government of its financial burden and commitment to the Corporation.

In addition to the television network, Ghana has a national film production center, The Ghana Film Industry Corporation (GFIC), established after its independence from Britain in 1957. This Corporation is the offspring of the old Gold Coast Film Unit (deriving its name from Ghana's colonial one) formed in 1948 by the British as an extension of the Colonial Information Service. The major difference in the two groups' structures was that the Gold Coast Film Unit was not a viable self-sustaining production unit upon which a national film industry could be built during postcolonial restructuring. Ghana's quest for the integration of film into its national culture led to it having an enviable modem amenity and a sophisticated production center. According to the production center's first director, Sam Aryetey, Ghana possessed "the best cinematographic infra-structure in tropical Africa."[8]

After independence when Kwame Nkrumah took the reigns of power as Ghana's first president, film distribution and production were nationalized and thus the spotlight on a national industry began. In the years 1957-1966, modem film production facilities sprang up. Facilities readily available included film and sound studios, 35mm and 16mm black and white processing laboratories, and editing rooms. The GFIC's deterioration began with the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's government. One of the restructuring activities of the new regime was to confiscate the films made by the Corporation, which, the military charged, helped build the President's "personality cult."

A new director, Sam Aryetey, a filmmaker, was appointed to direct the activities of the GFIC. Apart from producing some important newsreels, between 1968 and 1972 the Corporation had to its credit a number of culturally significant feature films. They include Ghana's first feature film, NO TEARS FOR ANANSE (35mm, 1968) by Sam Aryetey, which was based on a traditional Ananse folktale; I TOLD YOU SO (1970) by Egbert Adjesu which featured Bob Cole, the famous Ghanaian concert performer/actor; and DO YOUR OWN THING (1971) by Bernard Odjidja, BBC London-trained, whose subject concerned the local music scene of a young Ghanaian girl aspiring to become a soul-singer.

Such an encouraging development would have indicated a positive future for Ghana's film industry in terms of a large output of feature films. The GFIC had an unique status as the first venture of its kind in Africa with facilities to make films from conception to finish, eras Senegalese filmmaker Paulin Soumanou Vieyra put it, the GFIC "had equipment capable of completing a dozen feature films a year."[9] But as it turned out, the initial impetus of GFIC seems to have fallen by the wayside. Its foremost problems were administrative. This culminated in the pursuit of an incorrect policy, which was not only going to slow down the progress of aspiring Ghanaian filmmakers, but was also detrimental to the economic role envisaged for the Corporation as a self-sustaining industry.

Aryetey embarked upon a policy of co-production with foreign countries in Europe at the expense of local filmmakers who needed financial assistance to function. The result of his involvement with the Italian director Giorgio Bontempi in the making of CONTACT (1976) and Mike Fleetwood in the making of THE VISITOR was financially catastrophic. Because of these dismal box-office failures the GFIC was less inclined to push for further government financial assistance. For over a decade the Corporation was incapacitated, producing no feature films either on its own or in partnership with foreign producers.

However, the GFIC has not neglected its social responsibility in making documentaries. They have a steady output of documentaries partly because it is easier to get government funding to make films about the programs which African leaders have for political development, public enlightenment and education. SOLIDARITY IN STRUGGLE (1984) is a film that has brought recognition to and solidified the achievements of the Corporation's documentary production. Shown in the 1985 Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadougou, it won the Golden Camera Award. But since the decade of the 1980's has had the slowest economy Ghana has experienced since independence, making the Gross National Product (GNP) and per capita income very low, one would assume that the GFIC has settled comfortably into just documentary film production.

Kenyan television is virtually under the control of the government. Since 1985 that control has further tightened to promote political propaganda. According to Mr. Odindo, television critic for The Nation (newspaper of Nairobi), complaints from viewers range from the impact of non-African programs to the numerous hours devoted to "the routine speeches by government officials and songs and slogans of the sole party, (the Kenyan African National Union) and mediocre drama productions."[10] Like Ghana however, some encouraging developments have lately been instigated as the government is now increasing indigenous programming and exchanging productions with other African countries. Odindo cites the growing audience interest in entertainment programs and documentaries relating to African culture. According to him, musical shows from Cameroon and Congo distributed through the Union of National Radio and Television Organizations of Africa (URTNA) are well received in Kenya. It is also widely believed that the informal educational programs imported from Ivory Coast helped to increase preventive health care and agricultural techniques. Another boost in audience expectation came from what Odindo describes as the smashing of "third-rate studio comedies [of the Kenyan television] with a crisply produced romantic drama on teenage pregnancies." The fourteen-part series called Usiniharakishe, meaning "DON'T RUSH ME," was banned, however, after only two episodes following protests registered by parents who found the episodes' treatment of premarital sex too lascivious.[11]

In 1987, a new and effective method was developed. The soap opera, Tashauriane (LET'S DISCUSS I'll is a bold move by the Kenyan government in its effort to disseminate information about birth control in this East African nation which has about 4% population growth rate — the world's highest. Produced by the Voice of Kenya, the series is based on a "scientifically researched communication technique" similar to the one developed and broadcast in Mexico in 1977/1978. Tushauriane was produced with great care, avoiding the type of problems that marred the acceptance of its predecessor.

To achieve the intended goal, the producers developed situations for the characters designed to parallel the audience's experiences. This Kenyan experiment indicates how black African film and television aesthetics seek to establish its identity through exploring the social conditions of the entire populace. On the other hand, its strict production code emphasizes a realistic choice of images. This strategy, in terms of audience propensity, creates a "people's media." In time, projects like this can help reverse the failed attempts by foreign film and television producers to deal with Africa's social issues.

In anglophone states, commitment to film and television production assumes various forms of implementation. The Kenyan Film Corporation (KFC) established in 1968, is a government agency charged with the promotion and growth of the film industry and also is responsible for the distribution of films, but so far it has only been active in distribution. U.S. movies make up the bulk of the films it imports, followed by Indian romantic melodramas and Chinese Kung Fu films, which are primarily exhibited in the cities where theaters are located. The KFC also has exhibited a few African films, which it is anticipated will increase in the near future.

In addition, Kenya has a well-organized mobile cinema industry which takes films "on wheels" to a rural audience. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Federal Films Limited, and Film Corporation of Kenya are three major organizations that operate mobile cinemas in the country. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting distributes "educational" and "nation-building" films; it is government funded and does not accept advertising. The other mobile cinema companies are basically advertising agencies offering services to multi-national companies, with entertainment films used as a "crowd gatherer."

Nigerian television in its present form has become mired in a malady of political public relations. The country's first television station (which was the first in Africa) started its transmissions in 1959 from Ibadan, the capital of Western Nigeria (now of Oyo State). This was one year before Nigeria's independence. The oil boom of the 1970s heralded the creation of new states within Nigeria and the establishment of television stations which came to be known as Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), whose number is now well over thirty-seven. With each state, by right, entitled to one federally owned television station, the number increased during the second republic. At that time, state governments, hoping to disseminate information from the perspective of party ideology, established television stations named after their states.

It was here that the states' uncompromising attitude reached an unprecedented height when they began to use their stations to confront Federal Television Stations, which as a rule, were loyal to the ruling party controlling the Federal government, When the power in the state was of the same party as the Federal government, the state television stations painted oblique pictures of the opposition. Each of these stations sang the praises and bolstered the egos of political leaders. Although the return to military rule did bring restraint of a kind, Nigerian broadcasters have not refrained from making television the tom-tom that drums the praises of top Federal Government functionaries and that of its luminaries in the state capitals.

In the early years of television in Nigeria, the studios functioned along with film divisions whose films, notably documentaries, made a major impact on programming. By the mid-1970s however, the significance of celluloid power had waned, and in the 1980s film was largely displaced by the video format.

With all of the television stations abandoning their filmmaking units, their equipment has been tragically left to rust away. Even with relying on video due to its low operational cost, the major problem still facing NTA is maintenance of equipment. The Authority has more unusable equipment discarded as junk than it has equipment functioning in the field. As a phenomenon symptomatic of the general condition tolerated by all government establishments here, it would require a separate study to explain the reasons why a lack of cooperation cripples productivity in this part of the world.

Vincent Maduka, the former Director General of NTA, acknowledged the Authority's problems are twofold, namely: 1) human, neglecting to hire people with the "right aptitude and potential" for both the job and further training for the job; and 2) material, in that lack of money and technology form inhibiting factors.[12] The director did not blame NTA's misfortune on the problem of funding alone, which every other government director has blamed for the agency's incompetency and poor performance. He said that WA would have been able to, "perform twice as well ...with the same amount of money if...the staff are better motivated mom excited and persistent about what they can do and what television can do."[13] His words echo the views of some disenchanted observers and specifically, my own contention why mediocrity has become an institution NTA may not be able to demolish.[14]

To combat such a situation, adequate hiring procedures should take the place of the somewhat random selection of cameramen, directors, or producers by executives (sometimes political appointees). Currently, administrators see the opportunity to practice tribalism, favoritism, and nepotism by giving creative jobs to their brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, girlfriends and others, without qualifications for the job they are employed to do.

Although NTA is an autonomous institution, its budget is provided by the Federal Government and as indicated, television's first and foremost must capture every aspect of government's propaganda, such as the government's accomplishments and what it proposes to do; also it must build up policy makers' egos. It makes some coordinated efforts to put on a few entertainment programs (though marred by shoestring budgets), sports, and some educational programs (which the government is more willing to finance) and share other transmission time. Clearly, the news and current affairs units are better equipped. This branch contributes to the personality cult of leaders. It offers formulaic praises of leaders' lives accompanied by still photographs which remain endlessly fixed on the screen, and such a combination of image and sound sums up the aura of the images transmitted daily.

From its initial stages, comedy and drama have been the staple of programming provided by the NTA's entertainment wing, and most of these are very popular with the audience. For example, the oldest and most highly rated television program to date is THE VILLAGE HEADMASTER series which has been running for two decades and, as its renaming to THE NEW VILLAGE HEADMASTER indicates, seems to have come to stay permanently. The cast and crew have changed and so has its format, which moved from studio to location shooting. NTA long ago devised a system of broadcasting which it calls "network programming" whereby some selected programs are transmitted to the entire nation from its headquarters in Lagos. "Network programming" also selects items like documentary films produced in other states on a quota basis to show nationally. Although Nigeria's "quota policy"[15] is considered retrogressive by critics, network programming still elicits cultural education and knowledge through varied entertainment choices and viewpoints, widening the path of knowledge about events in other states.

Besides THE VILLAGE HEADMASTER, produced in Lagos, Enugu produces NEW MASQUERADE and Kaduna, SAMANJA. Many more entertainment programs do not make it to the national network for one reason or another. In its quest for expansion with acceptable quality programs (its limited resources not withstanding) NTA vigorously seeks sponsorship by multinational corporations, and response from this commercial sector has helped NTA generate funds and become (partialiy) competitive. Out of this endeavor, the 1980s has witnessed joint or partial partnership with independent producers and COCK CROW AT DAWN, MOMENT OF TRUTH, and MIRROR IN THE SUN have all achieved international recognition and all have won Union of National Radio and Television Broadcasting Organizations of Africa (URTNA) awards at various times. Corporate sponsorship is encouraging, but given the worsening economic outlook and the hardening austerity measures the government has imposed, corporate sponsorship of programs has dwindled. Hardest hit are young independent producers. As a recent example indicated, the producers of MIRROR IN THE SUN, a popular television series based on family life, had hoped the program would be sponsored by the manufacturers and importers of child-care products in Nigeria, but foreign exchange restrictions had crippled the manufacturing industries, import and retail businesses, and had left cosmetic shelves empty.[16]

Television's role in national development no doubt should seek to communicate indigenous issues of social concern. But for television to become "the conscience of the nation," it must pursue a philosophy of decolonizing the mind. Raising consciousness has been an arduous task for African television establishments and WA in particular. A recent NTA program, BASI AND COMPANY, raises a perennial question occurring in African films (Sembene's XALA, Senegal 1974, and Alassane's DEELA, Niger 1969) and literature (expressed in the dichotomy between Nigeria's Achebe and Kenya's wa Thiong'o. This question is about the appropriateness of using European languages for African film, television, and literature.

For THE VILLAGE HEADMASTER and most other popular comedy shows on Nigerian television, the language which delivers the laughs is pidgin English. This does not mean that other programs produced in standard English do not captivate the audience, In fact, BASI AND COMPANY uses pidgin English to satirize Nigerians and the audience loves it. Reminiscent of Sembene's XALA, which articulates questions of language, culture, and power, television fictions in Nigeria and Ghana, for instance, commonly use as a structure the oppositions resulting from Africa's dual existence (Western cultural influences upon traditional culture). In them we find symbols contiguous of this two-sidedness in characters who represent the colonized imitators of European fashion, who speak the Queen's English, wear ties and suits, love Western music, fast cars, and money; other characters represent a progressive synthesis of Africa and Europe. They speak good English but prefer to communicate in Pidgin English (now a written language which combines English words with African grammar and syntax) and are more attuned to traditional cultures. Here, societal conflicts, contingent upon the languages used to express them, bring to the audience a strong charge of political, social, and cultural tension. I will now examine EAST AND COMPANY along these lines.

Produced by Saros International, an independent production company. BASI AND COMPANY is a series which airs every Wednesday. It attracts an estimated audience of over thirty million people — drawing about the same crowd as THE VILLAGE HEADMASTER. And like Ghana's OSOFO DADZIE, its subject is real and the structure similar — hammering on Nigeria's social vices, especially the self-destructive, get-rich-quick mentality regarded as the cankerworm ravaging the socio-economic fabric of this once-rich African nation. The episodes have plots which revolve around the star of the show, Basi, whose character is the topic of conversation everywhere in the country. He reveals the 1980s societal atmosphere. He is at once a dreamer and a con-artist. The social atmosphere which BASI AND COMPANY lampoons stems from the country's mood in the 1970s. At that time in the glory years of Nigeria's oil wealth, national income rose dramatically. (Economic and political power were so closely intertwined that Nigeria even flexed its muscles with Britain by nationalizing British Petroleum in Nigeria as a signal of what was to come if the British sponsored Lancaster talk [17] did not tilt in favor of Zimbabwean independence.) A social and cultural dilemma emerged from this sudden influx of wealth. Unfortunate consequences occurred in the nation's psychology when unscrupulous individuals acquired millions of naira without working for it. BASI's social evangelism is didactic. It stresses the need for citizens to eschew materialism and return to hard work. That's the best way for Nigeria to stand up again after its wealth has been looted by its own unscrupulous people.

While BASI's theme wins universal approval, and while the series constitutes an effective way to use the film and television medium to focus on important issues, still its method is controversial. It uses standard English at a time when African filmmakers and literary essayists are urging Africans to make films and write novels in the African languages. In fact, Nigeria's Minister of Information, Mr. Tony Momoh, praised the show for its good English. This statement ratifies the official government's thinking that substandard English (pidgin) used on television causes low scores in the General Certificate of Education (G.C.E.) English language examination for Nigerian students.[18] A similar view was expressed by the show's producer Mr. Saro-Wiwa, who stated that the nation "should go for proper English so we can relate to the rest of the world."[19]

Such an opportunistic statement defies the interest of the uneducated masses, who form the majority of the population and who probably suffer most from the wrath of social decay that BASI AND COMPANY attacks. In Bendel State, for example, there is an ongoing interaction between the literate and illiterate communities, the basis of which is the fact that pidgin English is widely used and understood by the uneducated. Television here uses pidgin English programs[20] to provide an antidote for the lack of linguistic unity. Sadly, this nation's lawmakers did not have the foresight at independence thirty years ago to institute, if necessary by mandate, a national language in order to create unity within the country. The fact is that language barriers institute tribalism and tribalism is the greatest saboteur of Nigerian unity.

BASI AND COMPANY has other qualities in its role as the promoter of national culture. Its authenticity is exemplified in the characters played by the two female stars, Ms. Ikpo-Douglas and Mildred Iweka. These women are for Nigerian women what the hostess of WHEEL OF FORTUNE represents for some U.S. women — a distinct figure, distinguished for materialistic reasons. For example, BASI's women appear in the episodes looking gorgeous — always clad in traditional attire. Because Nigerian women love to keep up with fashion and because these two women represent traditional costume, the program is especially captivating. Women viewers often want to copy how to knot the head-tie and make it stand out so beautifully and ostentatiously or how to match their head-tie with a wrapper like that (just as U.S. women who tune into WHEEL OF FORTUNE want to see "what Vanna is wearing tonight"). BASI thus represents pride in what is African, thereby deconstructing the myth perpetuated by colonial ideology that African culture is not good enough. Now we can see that television used imaginatively in a proper way becomes a potent catalyst for changing practices and attitudes, and it can also articulate a challenge for accelerated development.

Despite this partial but inevitable opening to independent television production, WA (from the effect of financial and bureaucratic red-tape) still cannot sustain its airtime with indigenous productions. NTA has no agreement with the Federal Film Unit to show their documentaries on a regular basis. Instead it uses monotonous reruns and fills program schedules with foreign music videos, U.S. and British films and sitcoms. Up to now it has not been deemed necessary to integrate NTA facilities with those at the Federal Ministry of Information to initiate feature film production.

The story of the Federal Film Unit is a depressing one; it has failed to utilize its facilities and expertise to build a viable film industry in Nigeria. The Federal Film Unit has as its stated objective documentary production and exhibition, and that was integrated with the Federal Ministry of Information shortly after independence. The Film Unit has large departments for film direction, scriptwriting, camera, sound, editing, laboratory, exhibition, still and live-action cameras, and facilities for animation. Because its activity is supposed to sustain the requirement of Federal agencies throughout the country, it has a large staff of approximately five hundred people on its payroll. But as Françoise Balogun aptly states in her book The Cinema in Nigeria, this establishment, to be effective, requires "extensive reorganization and reorientation, since the informative and educative role it is supposed to play is considered impeded by the inertia of an obsolete and inefficient administration."[21]

This brief survey has shown the potential of anglophone film and television. If centered within African states' cultural specificities, and if properly integrated, both film and television can effectively foster development, education and understanding. These media could be put in the service of nation building. They could relay messages about people's history, needs, and aspirations. The media could touch people's consciousness and inspire change or question the status quo. But government-controlled documentary film units and television stations have been moving in slow motion toward realizing these goals.

The inability to accomplish this objective fully comes mostly from anglophone Africa's policy makers' nonchalant attitude toward the importance of art and culture. I believe that the medium of television, vis-á-vis film, is essential to anglophone Africa's development, culturally, economically and politically. National TV stations and film units should primarily function as exhibition channels for locally produced programming. Film and television should reflect the new dynamics of cultural struggle and social change in post-independent Africa. Television programming should also, however, accommodate non-African programs selected for their enlightenment. On the broadest scale, constructive action, diligent cultural orientation and a sense of fortitude are necessary to meet the demands and challenges of the changing African world. Thus, television should not only serve governmental interests but also expand its own role. Television must accommodate the burgeoning independent film practice (as in Ghana and Nigeria) and also support indigenous filmmakers by broadcasting their work.


1. For example, the movies were brainwashing the youth into regarding everything Western as superior to anything African. Thus concerned people felt a need to call for African cinema that would portray African realities in the best light.

2. Cited in Niyi Osundare, "A Grand Escape into Metaphysics," West Africa, 12 May 1980, p. 827.

3. This type of free mobile cinema was not only popular in the anglophone states but also in some francophone states, and it was first used by the British colonial government to explain the war to villagers, to encourage them to practice thrift, and to help the war effort. (See Colonial Cinema, March 1945, pp. 11-14.)

4. See N. Frank Ukadike, "Theatre on the Screen: A Filmmakers View on Nigerian Television." Nigerian Theatre Journal 2.1-2, 191-197.

5. Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, "From Apologies to Praises," West Africa 2 (March, 1988), 783.

6. Nanabanyin Dadson, "TV's Most Wanted Men," West Africa 2 (March. 1988), 782.

7. Ibid.

8. "Interview With Sam Aretery" as quoted in Manthia Diawara, "Sub-Saharan African Film Production: Technological Paternalism," JUMP CUT 32, p. 63.

9. Ibid.

10. Joseph Odindo, "African Nations Straggle to Make Television Their Own," New York Times, Sunday, Dec. 28, 1986, p. E3.

11. Ibid.

12. See "Twenty-Five Years of Television Broadcasting in Nigeria" (interview with Vincent Maduka) in Television Journal 4 (Lagos, April-June, 1984), 20-24.

13. Ibid.

14. N. Frank Ukadike, op. cit.

15. This quota system is an "unequal opportunity employer" because it allows for disproportionate distribution of Federal jobs, scholarships and so on. These positions are not filled by merit. For instance, states with a high literacy rate will have candidates dumped in favor of lesser-qualified candidates from states with a low literacy rate.

16. Iyabo Aina, "Face To Face With Lola Fanikayode," Television Journal 4 (Lagos, April-June, 1984), 27.

17. British sponsored negotiations that worked out an independence schedule for Zimbabwe in 1979.

18. The General Certificate of Education examination is a prerequisite for admission to Nigerian Universities.

19. James Brooke, "30 Million Nigerians Are Laughing, at Themselves," The New York Times, Friday, July 24, 1987. p. A4.

20. Including a recently introduced daily six o'clock evening news.

21. Françoise Balogun, The Cinema in Nigeria (Enugu, Nigeria: Delta Publications, 1987), p. 22. See this writer's review of this book in UFAHAMU 17.1 (Fall 1998), 77-80.