Book on Africa Presented in Humor and Parody
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A survey conducted by a group Celeb for Cause in Netherlands and Belgium showed that 29% of Africans in the two countries who are following events in Africa think Nadia Buari is the hottest celebrity alive on the continent. Despite accusations in some circles that the actress is the most secretive of all stars, the folks who participated in the survey do not seem to care much about that. Her closest competitor came in at a distant 13%. All four Nollywood stars in the survey ended with single digits. This was not a scientific poll and the selection of the responders might not be representative of the African Diaspora in Europe.
So who is Nadia Buari?
Ms Buari was born in November 21, 1982 in Ghana to a Ghanaian musician Sidiku Buari. She obtained a degree in Performing Arts in the University of Ghana, Legon.
In the late 2005, Ms. Buari premiered on Ghanaian national television with the TV series Games People Play. Her first major film was Mummy’s Daughter. Later she also starred in Beyonce: The President’s Daughter. In fact, most analysts believe her role as Beyonce was her major breakthrough
. From the information available to me, Nadia Buari has starred in over 20 movies.
As at the last time I checked, the Nadia was dating Chelsea striker, Michael Essien.
(Please check for entire results next weekend. Results from a similar survey focusing only on Nollywood stars wil be availabe by Mar 17)
I have written a few articles about unfair stereotypes normally associate with Africa and things from Africa. To be fair to the outside world, African cultures play a major role in establishing some of these formulaic conceptions.
One thing that easily comes to mind, and which worries me, is the pigeonhole role normally offered to the woman in most African movies. It has been a while since I saw an Africa film but the few that I can recollect had the same theme in all of them. The woman was for the most part depicted as the witch, the bitch, the maid, the weak, the evil, the cheated, the abused and others you can think of. ‘Role model’ roles were few, if any.
Has this changed? If it has, then please, pardon me. If it has not, then it has to change and it has to change fast. Our young girls will be grateful to us if we do.
Media construct our culture, and the media we use to communicate with one another shapes our perception of reality. When young girls see women in movies or read about them in books, they regard these women as lucky individuals, role models, celebrities in today’s slang. In response, they try to be carbon copies of these flattered, lucky individuals. They therefore begin to model what they see. What we show them is possible is what they grow up expecting to accomplish.
African women are the most hardworking among women. They are strong, resilient, and they never quit. It is summed up in the old Nigerian song “Sweet Mother’
It about time we saw the African woman portrayed as an educated entrepreneur, skillful international diplomat and a war hero. After all, what comes to mind when we think of Yaa Asantewaa?
It is just fair that the women play the ‘other roles’ too. Isn’t it?
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“…I am infuriated by the assumption that to be youngish and female means you are unable to earn your own living without a man” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A humid night two years ago, sitting beside a male friend in his car, and I roll down my window to tip a young man, one of the thousands of unemployed young men in Lagos who hang around, humorous and resourceful, and help you park your car with the expectation of a tip. I brought the money from my bag. He took it with a grateful smile. Then he looked at my friend and said, “Thank you, sir!”
This is what it is to be youngish (early thirties) and female in urban Nigeria. You are driving and a policeman stops you and either he is leering and saying “fine aunty, I will marry you,” or he is sneering, with a taunt in his demeanour and the question so heavy in the air that it need not be asked: “which man bought this car for you and what did you have to do to get him to?” You are reduced to two options; to play angry and tough and to thereby offend his masculinity and have him keep you parked by the roadside, demanding document after document. Or to play the Young Simpering Female and massage his masculinity, a masculinity already fragile from poor pay and various other indignities of the Nigerian state. I am infuriated by these options. I am infuriated by the assumption that to be youngish and female means you are unable to earn your own living without a man. And yet. Sometimes I have taken on the simpering and smiling, because I am late or I am hot or I am simply not dedicated enough to my feminist principle.
I have a friend who is, on the surface, a cliché. An aspirational cliché. She has a beautiful face, two degrees from an American Ivy League college, a handsome husband with a similar educational pedigree and two children who started to read at the age of two; she is always at the top of Nigerian women achievers lists in magazines; has worked, in the past 10 years, in consulting, hedge funds and non-governmental organisations; mentors young girls on how to succeed in a male-dominated world; recites statistics about anything from trade deficits to export revenue. And yet.
One day she told me she had stopped giving interviews because her husband did not like her photo in the newspaper, and she had also decided to take her husband’s surname because it upset him that she continued to use hers professionally. Expressions such as “honour him” and “for peace in my marriage” tumbled out of her mouth, forming what I thought of as a smouldering log of self-conquest.
Another friend is very attractive, very educated, sits on boards of companies and does the sort of management work that is Greek to me. She is single. She is a few years older than I am but looks much younger. The first board meeting she attended, a man asked her, after being introduced, “So whose wife or daughter are you?” Because to him, it was the only way she would be on that board. She was, it turned out, a chief executive. And yet. She lives in a city where her friends dream not of becoming the CEO but of marrying the CEO, a city where her singleness is seen as an affront, where marriage carries more social and political cachet than it should.
Another friend is a talented writer, a forthright woman who makes people nervous when she speaks bluntly about sex, a woman who describes herself as a feminist, and who talks a lot about gender equality and changing the system. And yet. She earns more than her husband does but once told me that he had to pay the rent, always, because it was the man’s duty to do so. “Even if he is broke and I have money, he will have to go and borrow and pay the rent.” She paused, rolling this contradiction around her tongue, and then she added, “Maybe it is because of our culture. It is what they taught us.”
There is, of course, always that “they”. Two years ago, we were slumped on sofas in his Lagos living room, my brother-in-law and I, talking about politics as we usually did.
“I think I’ll run for governor in a few years,” I said in the musing manner of a person who only half-means what they say.
“You would never be governor,” he said promptly. “You could be a senator but not governor. They won’t let a woman be governor.”
What he meant was that a governor had too much power, and was in control of too much money, none of which could be left to a woman by that invisible “they”. And yet. I realise that 15 years ago he would not have said, “you could be a senator.” Civilian rule brought greater participation of women in politics and the most popular and most effective ministers in the past 10 years have been women. In the next decade, my brother-in-law could be proved wrong. In the next three decades, he will certainly be proved wrong. But she would have to be married, the woman who would be governor.
My first novel is on the West African secondary school curriculum. My second novel is taught in universities. One question I am almost always certain of getting during media interviews is a variation of this: we appreciate the work you are doing and your novels are important but when are you getting married? I refuse to accept that the institution of marriage is what gives me my true value, and I refuse to come across as silly or coy or both. The balance is a precarious one.
“Would you ask that question to a male writer my age?” I once asked a journalist in Lagos.
“No,” he said, looking at me as though I were foolish. “But you are not a man.”
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Categories: Issues Tags: african flims, african movies, african sexuality, Chimamanda Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ghana movies nigerian actress, nigerian films, nigerian movies, sex in films, single side story, witch killing, witchcraft
Does spiritualism have anything to do with being commercially successful? While this is a puzzle that would take religious experts and traditionalists a while to analyze, feelers from the nation’s movie industry indicate that it is fast becoming the fad, pretty much like the home video scenes are depicting. Startling is the revelation that the practice is now rampant in Nollywood amongst actresses, producers and marketers, pointing to the fact that the industry may indeed be committing itself to a life of heathenism over talent.
Feelers told us, that these trips to Edo for spiritual consultations amongst movie people have assumed a frightening dimension these days that producers and marketers first take their edited movies to the spiritualists for endorsements before they are released into the market. And such trips, according to a reliable source, explains why some movies believed to be watery in content are known to have had sold hotly in the market.
On the other hand, the actresses known to be imbibing the same habit do so all in the name of finding fame and breaking even. The actresses are also said to be in this dirty habit in order to win the attention of very wealthy lovers, who would turn their lives around.
We scooped that the two hot destinations for movie people in this habit are all in Edo state. One of the spiritualists operates from Auchi, the headquarters of Etsako West local government area of Edo state, while the other operates at a town, Igbanke, a border town between Edo and dElta state, where late singer, Sammy Needle, hailed from. Some of the wave-making actresses are also said to be in the habit of visiting these two towns on regular basis to make appeasements to the spiritualists, in order that their services would still be needed in the acting business.
I hope to report back on interviews with two actresses who have visited Edo and are bearing witness of the trend. Stay tuned.