Nollywood, Riverwood and Bongowood make feature films and TV soaps that are fast overtaking Hollywood’s in many regional cinema halls and living rooms, reports XINHUA NEWS AGENCY
Last year Western movies dominated almost all cinema halls in Kenya and Western soap operas have been doing the same in Kenyans’ living rooms. But this scenario is changing rapidly, and in its place African-made movies and soaps are taking over.And now the era of complete dominance of the Western soaps is over. Such soaps have to compete for slots on television screens with the emerging made-in-Africa-for-Africans movies.
The new era, signalled by advancing technology, has seen Africa’s cinema industry come of age. And there are many quality movies worth watching in this explosion. Their topics are also varied and relevant with the African culture and settings.Now more African movies are competing with Mexican-made ones for the TV slots as opposed to the Hollywood soaps.
The Afro-movies include the famous West African movies, mostly from Nigeria’s Nollywood. However, new ones have come of age and include Kenya’s Riverwood (named after a street in Nairobi, River Road) and neighbouring Tanzania soaps that go by the name, Bongowood (Bongo meaning brain, used to refer to Tanzania’s cosmopolitan commercial city of Dar es Salaam).
The popularity of the African movies stems from the fact that the style and cinematographic language used in their production are slower, a typical reflection of an African setting.
For instance, some of the movies delve into Africa’s history. Consequently, most of the movies have moved from the traditional topics such as love, witchcraft, adventure and now feature contemporary issues such as politics, environment, youth, gender issues, ethnicity, drugs, technology and many other topical issues. Others delve into the continent’s history.
The attire used in the movies are mostly African and as such make the viewer associate well with the movie.
“What I like most in these African movies is that they have been acted by Africans who I can relate to very well. The settings are typically African; beginning with the cast, environment, language and accent and if there is any modernisation, then it is very minimal,” said ChakarawaAjibade, a Nigerian residing in Kenya.
The African jungles, deserts and plains are a sight to behold in the movies and reflect the reality of the continent’s God-given natural beauty.
Such fertile aspects have even lured some Westerners to venture into African movies, but their appeal is yet to match that of a true African actor/actress.
Ajibade noted that, unlike the Western movies, which he watches once in a while, it is the drumbeats, songs and dances with African tunes and the the witchcraft (juju) in the African movies that make him yearn for more. They make him feel as if he is back in Nigeria even though he is miles away.
The allure of the movies has made many TV stations which once preferred the Western movies to now shift focus and begin airing the Afro-movies as one way of maintaining their audiences.Public transport vehicles that play DVDs have also followed suit and prefer showing Afro-movies to their passengers.
Kinyanjui, a matatu driver in Nairobi, said his passengers prefer watching the movies because they are educative as opposed to the seductive songs played by some of his colleagues some of which have abusive language and are overtly sexual.
Linda Leshan said she liked watching Hollywood soaps and still has a library of the many collections, but since the Afro-movies, especially those from Nigeria, flooded the market, she opened a new library which she said will never fill up since every day she gets home from work, she passes by a movie shop to get the latest release of the Afro-movies.
“These movies are never exhaustive; one can watch them over and over. Sometimes I watch them till late into the night. They are full of humour, educative and relevant to an African set-up,” she enthuses.
The greatest problem dogging the movie industry is piracy, where millions are lost, robbing the artistes of their hard earned benefits and royalties.In Nairobi, pirated movies go for as little as KSh10 (less than a quarter of a dollar) in some streets, making it easy for anyone to buy original CDs and DVDs which are sold for over Sh500 (about US$7), cash that most people find it hard to part with.
“Why would I waste my money buying an original CD for Sh500 in a shop instead of getting one from the streets for as low as Sh10? For the same amount, I would buy 50 CDs of different movies instead of just one,” Judy Kanyanga says frankly.
The Music Copyright Society of Kenya says there are laws enacted in a bid to curb the vice, but each day scores of vendors on the streets still sell the pirated copies
|< Prev||Next >|