Nollywood as decoloniality

Authored by: Ikechukwu Obiaya

Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies

Print publication date:  February  2021
Online publication date:  February  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138574779
eBook ISBN: 9781351273206
Adobe ISBN:


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Decolonisation, according to Frantz Fanon, is accompanied by violence and, in fact, requires it. As he put it,

Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is clearly an agenda for total disorder… . You do not disorganize a society, however primitive it may be, with such an agenda if you are not determined from the very start to smash every obstacle encountered.

(Fanon 2004, p. 2) One could say that Nollywood exemplifies this notion of Fanon’s. However, Nollywood’s upturning of the old order did not take the path of physical violence advocated by Fanon, who noted that “decolonization reeks of red-hot cannonballs and bloody knives” (Fanon 2004, p. 3). But Nollywood, nevertheless, found a way of cutting the colonial umbilical cord by disrupting the established system and attaining real independence. This agency and alternative role of Nollywood at the global scale can be understood in terms of what Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2015, p. 485) terms “decoloniality as an epistemological and political movement” of praxis and “liberatory language” which is crucial for the future for Africa. “Decoloniality speaks to the deepening and widening of decolonization movements in those spaces that experienced the slave trade, imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, neocolonialism, and underdevelopment” (ibid). Nollywood’s unrivalled creative power in the global film industry is symbolic of the journey of cinema from colonialism, decolonisation to decoloniality in the Nigerian and African context.

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