Rebranding Nigeria Through Movies

Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry, is the second-largest globally. It churns out many movies every year in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and other Nigerian languages. These movies deal with different topics ranging from family dynamics to social challenges.

There are many things to learn from the movie industry, and what we see can influence the way we act and interact with the world. It can also affect the way outsiders view us. Anyone who has never been to Nigeria could see a movie depicting the country and its people negatively or positively; whatever the viewer sees is how they will perceive the nation. This is why some countries use movies to shape positive opinions of themselves and sell them to the public. Hollywood, for instance, has contributed to the desire of many to have a taste of the American dream, presenting America as a free country that puts its citizens first.

Locally, Nollywood influenced the migration of many to Lagos -as it presented it as a city filled with opportunities that anyone can tap into – adding to its congestion.My professor in university always liked to use the quote, “Art is a mirror of society”. What we see on screen reflects everyday happenings or is a tool used to influence everyday happenings.

Lately, there has been a surge in criminal activities like ritual killings, and many blame it on the glamorization of the act by Nollywood. They argue that there has been an increase in these evil acts because many movies portray cult-like activities and show characters climbing up the social ladder by sacrificing others to attain ill-gotten wealth. Even though these movies ultimately show that, in the end, trying to acquire wealth through evil means would result in bad endings, the fact that it only takes up a little time in the movies rubs some viewers the wrong way.

The solution is to make movies that encourage placing morals and values over riches and significantly reduce the production of “juju” movies. It gives the impression that citizens of the country are fetish and would hurt their neighbours to achieve anything.Making movies that extol the virtues of a people and their country is good PR. Nigeria is rich in culture, and the people are hospitable and loving, but that is not typically shown on the screen. Making movies with positive stories could change negative perceptions about the country and encourage tourism, boosting the economy.

South Korea has managed to get people obsessed with its culture because of the movies it churns out. There has been an increase in the popularity of the country due to its incredible films and music, with a show from the country, “Squid Game”, breaking international records and leading to nominations for the cast. They have infiltrated global markets and exposed their rich culture with well-written stories and incredible cinematography. A feat that has given the country a positive image globally, causing fans to travel to experience the culture and sometimes permanently settle down.

Suppose Nollywood were to get rebranded and receive funding from the government to influence citizens’ positive behaviours and perceptions from outsiders; there’s no telling how far we would go.