The Hausa people of the north of Nigeria like Bollywood films so much that around 20 years ago they started making their own local productions. The films of Kannywood (for Kano, the capital city) feature song and dance - and the incredible music that defines Northern Nigeria: autotuned robotic vocals combined with frenetic drum machine rhythms and intricate, interwoven synths in a hybrid of local styles and Indian influence. Hear a generous sampling of it here
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Feb 1, 2014 -
When the car exploded, the same two words occurred to him, and to the ticket taker, and to every other person who saw or heard the blast, which could be heard on the other side of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city: Boko Haram. That neither they, nor practically anyone else in Nigeria, knew what Boko Haram was exactly or why it would want to bomb a bus station was beside the point.
Officially, according to the Nigerian government, Boko Haram is a terrorist group. It began life as a separatist movement led by a northern Nigerian Muslim preacher, Mohammed Yusuf, who decried the country’s misrule. “Boko Haram” is a combination of the Hausa language and Arabic, understood to mean that Western, or un-Islamic, learning is forbidden. In 2009, after Yusuf was killed [BBC, The Guardian]—executed, it’s all but certain, by Nigerian police—his followers vowed revenge. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 27, 2013 -
"Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday."
Set in precolonial Nigeria, Things Fall Apart
portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent. [more inside]
posted by jquinby
on Mar 22, 2013 -
How Things Fell Apart
, By Chinua Achebe - 'In an excerpt from his long-awaited memoir, the inventor of the post-colonial African novel in English discusses his origins as a writer and the seeds of revolt against the British Empire.'
I can say that my whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion of my parents, which we followed in our home, and the retreating, older religion of my ancestors, which fortunately for me was still active outside my home. I still had access to a number of relatives who had not converted to Christianity and were called heathens by the new converts. When my parents were not watching I would often sneak off in the evenings to visit some of these relatives. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 25, 2012 -
Fifty years after British colonialism, ten years after military rule, Nigerians are free. Not economically free, not yet, and we see the effect of that lack of economic freedom in the kinds of crimes that are committed. But they are free in important ways. You can live where you want, associate with whom you want. You can sue people in court, gather to practice your religion, under the leadership of whichever holy man or charlatan you prefer, and you can marry and divorce as you please. This is a major thing. This is modernity, and to tell these stories, to give the protagonists of these losses even that little bit of attention, is to honor the fact that they are there, that their life goes on.
On his twitter feed
, novelist Teju Cole has been taking the French literary tradition of faits divers
and adapting it to "bring news of a Nigerian modernity."
posted by villanelles at dawn
on Aug 12, 2011 -
Nigeria's film industry produces 50 films a week.
"Nigerian films are as popular abroad as they are at home. Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos. Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television. When the president of Sierra Leone asked Genevieve Nnaji, a Lagosian screen goddess, to join him on the campaign trail he attracted record crowds at rallies. Millions of Africans watch Nigerian films every day, many more than see American fare. And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood.
posted by artof.mulata
on Dec 29, 2010 -
More than 15 years again Robert Kaplan wrote in his occasionally prescient essay,
"Though Islam is spreading in West Africa, it is being hobbled by syncretization with animism: this makes new converts less apt to become anti-Western extremists...." Glossing over the omission that Islam has been in West Africa for centuries
, the recent exploding underpants incident has cemented the idea that a form of violent religious extremism
has found root in West Africa, leaving many to wonder why
. Some argue it's the inevitable result of dangerous demographics
posted by Panjandrum
on Jan 20, 2010 -
Fela: Music is the Weapon
is a documentary film from 1982 featuring a wealth of live concert footage (from his club in Lagos, "The Shrine") as well as interviews with the legendary Nigerian singer, bandleader and social critic. Here's part 1
. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Nov 5, 2008 -
From the Bookstalls of a Nigerian Market
. Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha
[in then-newly-independent Nigeria
]... In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers.
Examples: How To Write And Reply Letters For Marriage, Engagement Letters, Love Letters And How To Know A Girl To Marry
, Learn To Speak 360 Interesting Proverbs And Know Your True Brother
, Struggle For Money [All full-text links are in pdf format, and some are quite large].
With links to additional resources
posted by amyms
on Jun 4, 2008 -
"The really disturbing thing about Lagos’s pickers and venders is that their lives have essentially nothing to do with ours. They scavenge an existence beyond the margins of macroeconomics. They are, in the harsh terms of globalization, superfluous."
, George Packer in Lagos.
posted by afu
on Dec 11, 2007 -
David Oluwale arrived in Britain in 1949, one of many African immigrants. By the close of 1969, he was dead
. Two years later, two police officers were charged with his murder, although they got away almost scot-free despite a massive amount of evidence against them. Although it caused a national scandal at the time, more because of police malpractice than racism, Oluwale's sad story has been forgotten since (apart from a play, written by Jeremy Sandford
, a few years later). However, it deserves to be remembered not just because of a tragic and unnecessary death, but because it was the first recorded death of a British black person as a result of police racism
. A new book, Nationality: Wog, The Hounding of David Oluwale
is helping bring Oluwale's plight back into public consciousness. Via the BBC's Thinking Allowed.
posted by humblepigeon
on Jun 6, 2007 -
Mary Uduru of Nigeria.
Although we see lots of single-image representations of African poverty (usually in the form of a swollen-bellied child on the brink of starvation) it's rare to find a photo-essay like this one one, which brings us an intimate, informative and non-sensationalist view of the life of the working poor there.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Blood Flows With Oil in Poor Nigerian Villages
An insightful NYT article on "the desperate struggle of impoverished communities to reap crumbs from the lavish banquet the oil boom has laid in this oil-rich yet grindingly poor corner of the globe"
Ok, so the quotes a little heavy handed but the pic on the 2nd page speaks volumes.
posted by Mr Bluesky
on Jan 1, 2006 -
Hollywood? Old. Bollywood? That's soooo 2003. Make room for Nollywood
, Nigeria's own film industry which is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and is currently worth about $45 million dollars
. About 400 Nollywood films are produced every year many on a budget of around $15000 and are distributed almost entirely by VHS and VCD. The stories are very much simplistic
and pulpy (check out 419 Stalk Exchange. Yes, 419 as in the email scam) but are much preferred
by local residents and emigre's than the usual arthouse fair one often thinks of when talking about African cinema. Now if you'll excuse me there's a bucket of popcorn and a copy of GSM Connection
waiting for me in the living room.
posted by PenDevil
on Jan 19, 2004 -
The G.I. Jones Photographic Archive of Southeastern Nigerian Art and Culture.
'This is an archive of digitized photographs depicting the arts and cultures of southeastern Nigeria. The collection includes examples from Ibibio, Igbo, Ijo and Ogoni speaking peoples. All of the photographs were taken in the 1930s by the late G.I. Jones, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. The majority of the images are from the Igbo speaking regions where Jones conducted most of his research. The materials included here represent only a sample of the complete Jones collection. The photographs are unique for the creative brilliance of the art represented, the quality of the photography itself, and the cultural and historical significance of photographic records from this time period in Nigeria.'
Some related links :-
American Museum Congo Expedition 1909-1915.
A truly interesting site, which includes field notes, photographs, watercolours, historical maps, anthropoligical objects, and so forth.
A Clickable Map of the Art of the African Continent
, via Africa: The Art of a Continent.
The Woods Collection of African Art
, with another clickable map.
posted by plep
on Mar 27, 2003 -
The power of Western culture
illustrated with the story of Miss World 2001. Agbani Darego
of Nigeria is single-handedly responsible for a radical change in the feminine beauty ideal in her native country: voluptuous women are out, thin girls are in. A stunning illustration of the cultural power of the West, and a good example to think about what it means - for the better and for the worse - to those under its spell.
posted by ugly_n_sticky
on Oct 3, 2002 -
Meanwhile, back in some secluded spot...Refugees
are fleeing for their lives as a town of 20,000 people is completely demolished-in Nigeria. The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas
) has agreed to take urgent action to eradicate slavery, i.e.children making chocolate.
I could go on and on.
Why does Africa receive such little attention when it's really the bigtop in the circus of world suffering?
posted by quercus
on Oct 25, 2001 -