It was in 2018 when Netflix made its first African film right of ownership with Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’. Ever since then the collaboration between the streaming platform and the African film dynasty has enveloped a new era of headline where African narratives are branded ‘Netflix Original’.
First was the South African thriller ‘Queen Sono’ followed by the teen drama series ‘Blood & Water’ of which both have received a season two green light. With more holes to be filled, Nollywood was added to the fast-rising African original shelf. Akin Omotosha is already part of the dialogue, with his upcoming series which stars Kate Henshaw, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Kehinde Bankole and many others telling the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated to avenge her sister’s death.
On June 12 this year, the developing roster of Nollywood forces scoring the ‘N’ logo received a groundbreaking addition with ‘Chief Daddy’ executive producer Mo Abudu signing a multi-title deal to make two original series as well as multiple films and series licensed to the streaming platform. The first two to be made is a screen adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s novel, ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ and the ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ by Africa’s first Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
Re-affirming its commitment and the readiness of African creatives to tell their own story as it is, a promo video which dropped yesterday across all social media platforms housed a fraction, but powerful creatives on the continent giving meaning and elaborating more on the accompanied ad title ‘Made by Africans, Watched by the World’.
“Have you ever had someone tell your story, take your voice, and replace your face until no one else can see or hear you?” The quoted line read by Genevieve in the introductory part to the clip confirms the brutality the African narratives told by non-Africans have been subjected to over the years. Many a times, in films and literary books, the representation of an African character is either replaced with an African-American for the big screen (to some extent a white girl acting the African girl script) or tilted in novels such that the tradition of the African is partially made with dots of foreign culture.
Globally, Africa is seen as the way the non-African tells it and consumed by the world to be true. Out to change the existing notion, comes the actors, producers, writers, directors, cinematographers, choreographers, models and television personalities sourced from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe in telling the world the narrative is about to change.
Like South African actress and media personality Pearl Thusi said in her part of the clip, “It is said that if you don’t like someone’s story, you write your own.” The bold statement is strongly approved by all on the continent.