Skip to main content

(40): Africa, a Continent in Limbo

Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim
@muhsin234

Stories of Africa being taken for a country or Nigeria for a city in an unknown country, perhaps ‘Africa’ do not have anymore newsworthiness. More than many ‘intellectuals’, politicians, organizations, individuals, etc from around the world have had, on several instances, such faux pas or some similar talk that points towards that. Notables and well-known, at least within the circle of my readers, of such include Sarah Palin’s interview, Chimamanda’s chilling speech, The Danger of a Single Story and Farooq Kperogi’s piece, ‘Is Nigeria the name of a City?’, among others. It has, nonetheless, gone far beyond that as I have recently discovered.

I attended the 17th International Theatre Festival of India, called Bharat Rang Mahotsav for a few days. The festival is still ongoing at the renowned [Indian] National School of Drama, Delhi. The school is disputably the best in the whole of Asia. The festival will be rounded off on the 18th of this month. There are theatre repertory groups from the U.S, Europe, Middle East and other Asian countries, but there was/is nobody from Africa, though Africa is the second largest continent on earth with over 50 sovereign nations. Absence of a single participant from Africa has more or less weakened the usage of the word: international.
 
With the veteran actor, Om Puri ji
For a long time prior to this festival, as a student of theatre and film studies, I have since noticed the ‘non-existence’ of Africa in the theatre and the cinema realms and discourses in India. Quote me anywhere, less than a few people know that Africans produce any films and stage any dramas of their own here. Notwithstanding that the university I study boasts calling itself international, there’s absolutely nothing African in their syllabi, nor reference thereof except, probably, in Geography department’s. This is incredible!

Today, the Nigerian film industry called Nollywood surpasses the Hollywood in terms of production and is now the second largest in the world after Bollywood, the Indian glamorous film industry. YET, it is largely in oblivion among the billion plus populace of India. Ditto the theatre of Africa, not only Nigeria’s, with all its richness, epoch and popularity in the UK, US and elsewhere. Professor Wole Soyinka is the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize in 1986 and he got it in Literature (Drama!).
 
With a few classmates
Recently, prominent Kannywood (i.e. Kano-based film industry) personnel, including the ace actor, Ali Nuhu came to India for a short course, sponsored by Nigerian government, on film. First, their Industry was/is facing a dire challenge due to the so-called “Hausa-India films” (i.e. Hausa-dubbed and lips-synched Hindi films). Being they were not taken that serious here, they couldn’t do anything about that. Secondly, and on a lighter tone, they obviously couldn’t get any chance to meet with any Bollywood high-flying actor, director or producer, for we might have seen pictures of them together.

Enough of this whining, some might say. Yes, I can’t change the status quo. Africa is largely, erroneously and ridiculously though, known as no more than a forest that houses monkeys, or humans that resemble them. The North Korean government has lately described President Obama as such. Or, for Ebola. Or, in other instances, Indians know South Africa and Kenya as the two countries play cricket, their favourite game. And more, India’s number one statesman, Mahatma Ghandi ji once lived in the former.

But for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and arguably the richest, is often remembered when any Black man committed, or is accused for committing, a crime. The dreaded insurgent group, Boko Haram has also popularized the name of the country. I discussed this ugly truth in one of my articles.

It is high time Africans started what I may call searching for ‘self-worth’. I am not advocating for egotism, high-handedness or anything of the sort. But knowing yourself, your merit and respect is needed now and always. Millions of Africans, particularly Nigerians, take Indians to the highest esteem. We think of our Bollywood fave actors as paragons of beauty, valour and value. Down here, you are not known, and in a few places you are known, you mean little or nothing. However, not all are like that. As I often say, we are individuals, so also they (Indians) are. But let’s know them for what they are, and know yourself for what you are.

Popular posts from this blog

(76): Girl-Child as ‘Endangered’ Human in our Society

Muhsin Ibrahim muhsin2008@gmail.com
“Muhsin”, Shamsiyya (not a real name) called my attention. I answered, and listened. “Come and marry me”, She finished, retorting my allegation that she was still unmarried not because she lacks suitors, but for her being too choosy. It was later that I pondered on our lengthy conversation and realized that I was wrong. Many men are afraid of successful women like her. She is from a wealthy family, has two degrees and works with an international organization. She also confided to me that she could not stretch the cultural perception and norms to seriously ask anyone to marry her. She would rather continue to wait for Allah’s choice. I was left in a daze.
I came back home, sat down and ruminated over our chit-chat. I then recalled Dr. Muhammad Tahar Adamu aka Baba Impossible’s lecture back in our freshman year in the university. He one-day spent many minutes of his period admonishing the ladies in the class on relationship and marriage issues. He was u…

(16): Remembering our Slaughtered Sister, A’isha

Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim @muhsin234 (Twitter)
Many people welcome the month of April by the popular April fool prank; the month however, from the year 2012, will be remembered as April foul by the family and friends of Talban Taura, Alhaji Muhd Lawan (Alhaji Abba) who lives in Gwale LGA, Kano. A tragedy befell the family on the 1st April in that year, when his 20-year-old daughter, A’isha, was murdered in cold blood, just a few weeks away to her wedding. Forgive a little digression: this is the first written tribute I am paying to anyone’s life. This is, nonetheless, not because nobody so significant in my life has died before; in fact, people dearest and nearest to me like my mother, an eldest brother and a stepsister, among others have died. To say I miss them is literally an understatement. I never forget to beseech Allah, the Exalted, to have mercy on their souls.

However, the death of A’isha is rather a unique one, for the cause was so unnatural, though unavoidable, fatalistically s…

(81): Kannywood Movie Review: There’s a Way

Production:    Jammaje Productions
Producer:       Abba El-Mustapha Director:         Falalu A. Dorayi Year:              2016 Cast:              Nuhu  Abdullahi, Hajara Jalingo, Abba El-Mustapha, Zainab Booth,Sani Mu’azu, Umar Malumfashi and others
God bless the dichotomy between the rich and the poor, or as the socialists call it: the gap between the lower, the bourgeoisies and the upper classes. If it did not exist, the arts would, perhaps, have to invent one for stories to have conflict, upon which many films, novels, dramas, etc rely to intrigue us. This has been the trend since the Victorian Age, or before, with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist down to Femi Osofisan’s Marxist-influenced plays, and so on and so forth. Class consciousness is sadly here to stay with us.
Hausa film industry is equally not short of films based on this global theme. There’s a Way is just another addition to that archive, though in a new style: its language is no longer the ‘l…