Africa Magic Igbo Channel has been launched, coming very late after the Africa Magic Yoruba and Hausa Channels. In this piece, PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA takes a look at the possibility of resuscitating the making Igbo movies with this initiative
The Africa Magic Igbo has been introduced to showcase the rich Igbo cultural heritage on DSTv channel 159. At the launch recently in Enugu, the director, M-Net (West Africa), Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, confirmed that the Igbo language entertainment content has played a prominent role in Nollywood.
She described some popular Igbo movies like ‘Living in Bondage’, ‘Nneka: the Pretty Serpent’ as the bedrock of the present Nigeria movie industry.
Meanwhile, the development did not go down well with some observers who saw it as coming rather too late. They opined that the Igbo language content being the base of Nollywood, was supposed to have been on DSTv long before now.
They expressed displeasure over the fact that the Africa Magic Igbo was coming behind the Africa Magic Yoruba and Hausa, which according to them, was not appropriate.
However, speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday, Nollywood actress, Patience Ozokwor, disagreed that the content was coming late. According to her, though most Nollywood movies portray Igbo culture and use mainly Igbo costumes, they are not Igbo movies because they speak English.
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Mama G, as she is popularly called, maintained that there was need for them to have content just like the Yoruba, Hausa, Edo and others and she is optimistic that the development would resuscitate the Igbo movies.
“It is just about content; most of the Nollywood movies portray Igbo culture and use Igbo costumes but that does not make them Igbo movies because they use English language. So, people still want to hear the Igbo language just like the Yoruba, Hausa, Edo and others,” she explained.
Also, in terms of market, many are wondering if the Igbo language content would be able to compete with the Yoruba and Hausa versions due to several factors, including the fact that these other versions have gained much popularity.
A video club operator in Abuja, Amos Okezie, who said he is an ardent watcher of Africa Magic, expressed worries over the Igbo language content, saying that the Igbo content may not be able to compete with the Yoruba content in particular.
He said, “The Igbo language content may not make much difference because there is nothing they are going to act that will be different from the normal Nollywood. People already see Nollywood as Igbo content because all that they act is on Igbo culture. So, I think the difference is going to be the language and nothing more.
“Taking myself for instance, I am Igbo but I enjoy watching Yoruba movies because it is a way of me getting to know more about the Yoruba culture and the content is rich. So, even though I don’t understand Yoruba, I read the interpretations and understand the movies, but that may not be the case with the Igbo content because people are already used to the Igbo culture through Nollywood.”
Also speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday on the issue, Nollywood actor, Emeka Rollas, said “it is not a must to make Igbo content, it is about the market. The Igbos should go and produce their own content and I think the Africa Magic is just trying its best.”
However, another Nollywood actress, Stephanie Okereke Linus, said “it is a good thing that Africa Magic Igbo is on.”
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