By Nomali Cele
Sometime in the mid-00s, Nollywood movies took off in South Africa. This was probably in part due to more households installing DSTV thus giving them access to one of M-Net’s secrets that open time could show: AfricaMagic. AfricaMagic was launched in 2003 and would grow to several sub-channels by the time the decade was over.
AfricaMagic, while having different types of content such as dramas and documentaries, thrived best on its selection of Nollywood film. And this is where Nollywood, Nigeria’s high production film industry began to thrive in the rest of the continent. In South Africa, the prevalence of DVD piracy also played a role. But most of those fans who were built through DVDs bought on the side of the road eventually found their way to AfricaMagic and became South Africa’s first binge watchers.
Here we recommend a few Nollywood movies. Whether you are a newcomer to the genre or are returning to it after years, these titles are exemplary of what Nollywood does best.
Mr Ibu is probably one of the first crossover icons of Nigerian cinema that became popular in South Africa. The resonance of the character is not hard to explain because, at the time, comedies such as Mr Bones were raking in millions at the local cinema.
The “Mr Ibu” movies follow the title character on many misadventures. His antics always land him in slap-your-thighs funny situations.
“Blood Sisters 2”
This one holds a special place in my heart because I remember watching it a little over a decade ago with my sister and mother and everyone just weeping. It’s an almost Cinderella tale if Cinderella’s stepmother was also her mother’s sister who murdered her mother to marry Cinderella’s father.
This sequel follows up after the deteriorating relationship between two sisters who are rivals comes to a head in “Blood Sisters”. There’s no shortage of murder and betrayal in Nollywood movies and that’s part of the spice that makes the genre what it is.
“Mr & Mrs”
Need a bit of romance? “Mr & Mrs” is not where you will find it. A man starts mistreating his wife after his father becomes a minister and their family ascends in the social ladders of Nigeria. Broken hearts and tears are a staple in Nollywood movies.
Aramotu is a film about a woman who is wealthy but has decided to use the authority her wealth has given her in her conservative Yoruba community to advocate for women and general human rights. Things soon fall apart with members of her own family and the larger community turning against her. The film is a period piece that is set in early 1900s Nigeria.
“All My Life”
All my life is another one of many popular Nollywood movies featuring sisters. One sister has been having struggle conceiving with her husband. They then resolve that he must marry her younger sister and have children with her.
In a plot twist, both sisters get pregnant. As soon as the first wife and her husband realise they have a child on the way, they mistreat the other sister. She eventually leaves but her sister and husband end up seeking her out after a while because of another twist in the story.
Nollywood is also notorious for responding to popular culture and Hollywood events with its own twist. In recent years, the Nollywood response to the hip-hop industry beef between rappers Meek Mill and Drake had Twitter talking for days. There was also the swift adaptation of 2018’s blockbuster film, “Black Panther.”
What are your all-time favourite Nollwood movies? Tweet us with #KayaOnline and #KayaIsAfrica