African media clash over Nigerian dominance of film
Publish Date: Jun 26, 2014
African media clash over Nigerian dominance of film
l-r: Mildred, Chinedu Ikediezi, Rita Dominic, Wangi Mba-Uzokwu, Uti, Eku, Majid Michele. Photo/Kalungi Kabuye
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By Kalungi Kabuye

It is not only about Nigeria, was the argument of many journalists from different African countries on the second day of the Multichoice Content Extravaganza held on the island of Mauritius.

They did not like the fact that films from Nigeria dominated the airtime on the Africa Magic channel on TV.

“It is very difficult, if at all possible, to find films from Malawi, for example, being shown,” a journalist from Malawi argued. “It is not good or fair that it is mostly Nigerian films, which are at times not very good, being shown. You have to give the rest of Africa a chance.”

The journalists were meeting a panel which consisted of only people from West Africa. Chaired by Multichoice West Africa Regional Director, Wangi Mba-Uzokwu, it had film producers, actors, and former Big Brother Africa winner and now TV host Uti, also from Nigeria.

The panel set up did not go down well with journalists from Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia; the debate got so heated that at one time Mba-Uzokwu had to explain that she represents West Africa, and they would have to ask the East Africa regional director about efforts to raise the film industry in East Africa. But that Director was not there.

A Ugandan journalist asked the actors present, Rita Dominic and Majid Michele, whether they felt appreciated by the industry.

“In my country Nigerian movies are mostly watched by downtown people, relatively poor and semi-illiterates,” he said. “They are also shown in illegal video shacks, never in mainstream cinemas. How does that make you feel as actors?”

Michelle replied that he doesn’t know what people in Uganda felt about their movies, but in West Africa they are stars and celebrities.

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