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(96): Kannywood, a Film Industry in Need of Revaluation

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Muhsin Ibrahim University of Cologne muhsin2008@gmail.com
As I wrote elsewhere, the relationship between cinema and the orthodox religious institutions is often marked by uneasiness if not outright hostility. From its very beginning, the Puritans see the raison d’être of visual art as only to entertain, which means to distract people from their duty to God and ethical undertakings. Until today, the accusation is all the more raging. How filmmakers handle the questions of morality, culture and spirituality is under censorship. Kannywood, the Kano-based, up-and-coming motion picture industry of and by the predominantly Muslim Hausa speaking people in northern Nigeria, is not an exception.
It is not news that Kannywood struggles with the culture-war message of several critics who see everything with them as corruption or dilution of the “prestigious” Hausa culture. However, with the ever-expanding rise (encroachment?) of globalisation, I think this feeling is, at best, empty and, at worst…
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(95): Top 12 Kannywood Films of 2017

By Muhsin Ibrahim
muhsin2008@gmail.com
The article was written for, and published by, the BBC Hausa service. This is a link to a slightly different version, translated in Hausa, on their website: Fina-finan Kannywood 12 da suka shahara a 2017..
In spite of several, mounting challenges Kannywood film industry faces, chief of which is piracy, many films were produced in the outgoing year of 2017. These include, as one can guess, the very good, the good, the bad and the ugly. The year is not over yet, we, for that reason, expect the release of more films such as Juyin Sarauta, Sabon Dan Tijara, Dan Sarkin Agadaz, Mu Zuba Mu Gani, Dan Kuka a Birni, among others. Therefore, the following list is, by no means, exhaustive. There can be one, two or more deserving to be included in this category before the end of the year. Again, the list is not in any chronological order.
There’s a WayIt’s arguably the first Kannywood film in ‘Standard’ English. Produced by a renowned English teacher, Kabiru Jamma…

(94): Maryam Sanda: Kannywood is not to Blame

By Muhsin Ibrahim University of Cologne muhsin2008@gmail.com Once again, Kannywood is being dragged into the limelight and for the same reason: moral issue. The story of the murder of husband, Bilyaminu Bello by his wife, Maryam Sanda has been trending in the news since it happened on 18th November 2017. Domestic violence, which, if not tackled, leads to mariticide, is as old as marriage itself. Therefore, using a picture of an actress, Aina’u Ade wielding a knife against an actor, Ali Nuhu from a scene of a Kannywood film to show how Maryam got influenced is, at best, wrong and, at worst, absurd. Do we care to look at what are the context and the consequence of that act in the film?
Let me digress a little. I had no intention to write this article for several reasons. However, a number of friends and acquaintances kept on ‘asking’ me to intervene. Let me make it clear to them that being Kannywood an area of my study does not make me their mouthpiece, nor does it make it my responsibility …

(93): Kannywood: Hypocrisy, Sycophancy and Criticism

Muhsin Ibrahim muhsin2008@gmail.com
Almost every positive adjective one can think of has, today, been used to refer to Nollywood especially in places outside Nigeria. For those who perhaps don’t know, the film industry is the second biggest after Bollywood in the world; it is, arguably, however, the second largest employer after Agriculture in Nigeria; and is now regarded by many observers as not only a Nigerian film industry but a pan-African cultural phenomenon. Beside all these glories associated with Nollywood, the Northern part of Nigeria has its distinct and distinctive film industry, which is even historically older. Kannywood, as it’s tagged, nevertheless, still struggles for recognition and acceptance within and outside the country. This is, however, due to a number of reasons.
The biggest of them all is what I bluntly call “hypocrisy”. Although not the main focus of this piece, this refers to the way and manner many people in the North disown the films and their makers in the n…

(92): Kannywood Movie Review: Rariya

Production:    Sadau Pictures Producer:       Rahama Sadau Director:         Yaseen Auwal Year:              2017 Cast:               Ali Nuhu, Rahama Sadau, Hafsat Idris, Fati Washa, Zainab Booth, Rabi’u Rikadaw, Sadiq Sani Sadiq and others
Introduction
The mobile phone has, since its introduction and ensuing popularity, been playing double-edged functions in many cases and instances. The ‘conservative’ Hausa community of northern Nigeria is one of such a case. For years, some people, parents, in particular, have refused to let their female children use it, while some husbands have equally denied their wives any access to any Internet-enabled cell phone. It is, however, ironical as most if not all of those ‘deniers’ use the smartphones, yet they frown at, or forbid others from, using it. Their reason is simple: to curb some of the vices committed, often, by the assistance of the phone. To others, it is to prevent their loved ones from taking the course they are on; or over-protection, igno…

(91): Girl-Child, Poverty and Our Society this Century

Muhsin Ibrahim muhsin2008@gmail.com


The word “culture” defies any simple definition, though attempts to do that have been made and continue to be. As a response to a post I made on Facebook the other day, a friend commented that “Hausa culture has nearly eroded to extinction”, for, according to him, when one asks many young Hausa (men and women) about their culture, they will tell you, “Islam is my culture”. 
Weak, if not erroneous, as I believe this view is, it makes me happy for several reasons. Culture, religion and, to an extent, language are carriers of a lot of value. The most valuable of them all is, to me, religion. Therefore, I would prefer a Hausa girl or boy to identify herself/himself first with Islam than with the culture as the culture is not as perfect as the religion is.
However, neither the culture nor the religion means anything significant to countless Muslim girls and boys in this 21st century. This is one of the reasons why I find his argument very flawed. There has b…

(90): On the Kannywood/Nollywood Dichotomy and Related Issues

I attended a conference themed “The Other’s Other: Performance and Representation in Language” organized by, and held at, the University of Cologne, Germany, between 25-26 Sept. 2017. I presented a talk on the subaltern themes and motifs in the Nigerian film industries [emphasis added]. It is a common knowledge, I guess, to all that “Othering” does not only exist in the film, it thrives. Thus, my paper argues on how the regional filmmakers in Nigeria have, consciously or not, been widening the existing binary and rivalry between the country’s diverse ethnic and religious groups. At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, the paper generated a lot of discussions and debates. This article is sort of a précis of the talk and the debates.
The focus of the deliberations, particularly in the post-conference side talk, was surprisingly changed from “Othering” to the existence and peculiarities of Kannywood film industry besides the “Global Nollywood”, to use Krings and Okome (2013) term. Th…