From Lagos to Douala: Seeing Spaces and Popular Video Audiences

Babson Ajibade


When the popular video film debuted in Nigeria in the late 80s, filmmakers and critics sympathetic to celluloid perceived it as a fad that would soon extinguish. The cinematic culture, bequeathed by British colonialism, was thought to have generated a discerning film audience that would shun the video medium. This was not to be. The video film has grown from a few productions in the late 80s to more than 1000 features per year. Unlike celluloid before it, video is truly a popular medium. The same social and economic downturn that necessitated its rise as a direct alternative to celluloid is what ratifies video as a medium for dramatizing popular concerns. It is video's ability to enact and circulate – outside of the state's ability to control – that makes it fruitful for studying decolonization. More, the Nigerian popular videos have been able to break national boundaries and acquire a broader African audience, suggesting immediately that there is a commonality in the pain of popular experience across Africa's post-colonies. This paper outlines the categories of spaces for seeing video films – as sites for contesting self and other identities among popular masses – from Lagos to Douala.


Nigerian Video film

Full Text: