I like Nollywood. It teaches me.
Nollywood taught me about Mbaise
I like Genevieve.. don’t even know her last name, but I think we can both agree that there’s only one Genevieve in this country. How old is she anyway? First time I saw her in the movies, fuel went for N60 per barrel, Hulk Hogan was WWF Champion, women wore blouses and plaid skirts… Okaay just kidding, I’ve never seen a woman in a skirt.
So my heart was broken thoroughly recently, when I found out she’s (Genevieve) from Mbaise. Which, according to traditional folklore, means that she can turn into a snake at night; or something of that nature. I guess I have some questions for that community (Mbaise); questions I would rather ask during the daytime.
Nollywood taught me about Witches
Your movies have saved my life countless times. I have learnt to avoid the enemy. It is Nollywood that taught me how to identify witches — and even ghosts. I’ve seen Karishika, I’ve seen Living in Bondage.. so I know.
The witches all look the same. You know the look: Bleached out face, dark scary tattoos on the skin, Black lipstick with the deep eye shadow and Purple mascara, Rouge foundation on the cheeks, them long sharpened fingernails and jagged pearly teeth, incredibly trendy high heels and well-tailored gowns… and don’t forget the gold jewelry. I know the features so much in fact, that I am proud to say that when I go down the street, I see witches everywhere. I’ve identified forty-five of them today alone, and it’s just 11 a.m.
I know how dangerous they (the witches) can be too.
In the movie, when a witch has a problem with someone, like their husband for example (it’s usually man trouble), they visit their fellow witches in a well-decorated tavern at night to share their sorrows.
There, she pronounces to the gathering: “I HAVE A PROBLEM” (it’s usually a screaming voice) “MY HUSBAND IS BLOCKING MY DESTINY”… something of that nature.
The caring and motherly head witch, who can’t bear to see her flock suffer, will then say “TAKE THIS POISON” (she hands over a pint of salt) “AND PUT IT IN HIS FOOD”. Simple and to the point. Problem solved.
The troubled witch goes home and greets her husband with his favourite meal, laced with POISON of course; which he devours with the greatest avidity..
..seconds later he has started to choke, for some reason his insides are melting, his eyes are popping out of his skull. He tries to call for help, but ends up vomiting a pool of blood instead. As if that’s not enough, a froth of foam starts building in his mouth, like someone forgot to close the washing machine. He dies in agony, wishing his wife had had the decency to just shoot him instead. Good riddance. Her destiny will be blocked no more…
Nollywood taught me about pregnancy
…The liberated woman then remarries a much more attractive and virile man. It’s smooth sailing from here. In no time she has conceived and the home is a much happier place. “We’re having a baby!” the new husband screams in joy.
But by the ninth month the miracle of childbirth seems more gruesome than a case of Ebola. She is nearing labour now, and she can’t move about without the support of her husband. On their way to the hospital she fears she won’t make it, her husband is sweating bullets in the driver’s seat.
By the time she reaches the hospital she’s practically begging for air. The doctors have the theatre prepared long before her arrival, and then the endeavour begins. And after the long and arduous labour pains, by some miracle of nature, she gives birth to a yam.
By yam I mean a yam tuber. A YAM TUBER! Given all her fears of having the baby, somehow she is able to give birth to a food crop with no complications at all.
The Doctor steps out of the theatre surprisingly calm. Putting on his most morose face to address the husband, who is too flustered to read his features. He asks:
“Doctor! Please how is my wife doing?”
“I’m sorry.” says the Doctor.
“You’re sorry?” asks the husband, confused.
“Your wife gave birth to a yam.”
“HEEY!!” cries the husband. “Doctor, what do we do?”
“Hmmm” The Doctor ponders. Now he’s in a predicament. His patient just gave birth to a tuber of yam, a medical impossibility…
Does he consider calling the CDC, or the Government? Does he alert the medical community or the Guinness Book of World Records? Does he call the news stations or the tabloids?
“Hmmmm” says the Doctor. “I think you should see a Spiritualist.”
Nollywood is talent
Nollywood is home to some of the greatest actors on the planet. Who else could take some uninspired dialogue, one-take editing, hilarious special effects and convert it to movie gold like Nkem Owoh would do? When 80% of the camerawork is a close-up of your face, how do you maintain your demeanor so seamlessly, like Omotola? When a lack of sets means you will have to act out your dementia scene next to a real dustbin, how do you remain so graceful, like Mercy Johnson? Who can be so versatile as to become a spiritualist, a doctor, a professor, a lawyer and a father in the same movie, like the late great Sam Loco-Efe?
Who else could play a crazed politician and megalomaniac like Kanayo O. Kanayo? Who could alternate between a respected reverend father and a possessive demon like Clem Ohameze? Who else could fist fight an entire gang and come out unscathed, like Jim Iyke? Who else could alternate between a devout reverend sister and a deranged lover, like Tonto Dike?
Who else could be a rancid witch one moment, then a loveable mother the next, like Patience Ozokwor? Who else could instill fear into the military and the council of elders like Pete Edochie? Who else could play the misguided husband like Tony Umez? Who else could play the college sweetheart like Genevieve… still can’t remember her last name.