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Banned Rahama Sadau Says Nollywood still ignores sexuality and youth culture

The ban on Rahama Sadau from Kannywood highlights the movie industry's issues with sexuality and youth.

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Rahama Sadau play

Rahama Sadau

(Twitter/Rahama Sadau)

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Forget the name. Forget the corny prefix that comes before the inevitable 'wood'.  Nigerian cinema or the Nigerian movie industry (which is a far better name than Nollywood) misses the mark when it comes to the portrayal of youth and sex culture.

Today, Monday, October 3, 2016, it was reported that top Hausa actress Rahama Sadau was expelled from the unfortunately titled Kannywood (the name for the movie industry in Northern Nigeria).

Rahama Sadau play

Rahama Sadau

(Twitter/Rahama Sadau )


Her grave sin was because she was seen hugging and cuddling a Northern based rapper Classiq in his music video. This would be laughable if it wasn't true. Yes, an adult female actor was kicked out because she hugged a rapper in his music video. Maybe our Northern brothers should watch SoundCity regularly and see what video vixens actually do in music videos.


In July 2016, Islamic clerics kicked against a film village from being founded in Kano on the grounds that a film village will promote immorality. The plan to build the film village would promote immorality in the state.

These two aforementioned examples show how in certain parts of Nigeria, the local movie industry is still being held back by sexist philosophies camouflaged as religion. While this is what obtains in the North, the South doesn't fare any better.

Thandie Newton in Half Of A Yellow Sun play

Thandie Newton in Half Of A Yellow Sun



In the Nollywood set up (mainly dominated by Nigerians from the South-East), Nigerian sexuality has not been accurately portrayed on screen. Sexuality within the Nigerian context has not been defined by scriptwriters and directors. While the production quality of most Nollywood movies has improved, sex scenes have hardly progressed beyond a close-up of four wiggling legs.

You can't really blame Nollywood practitioners from shying away from tackling the big S in the room. Archaic censorship laws and the Nigeria's prudish attitude towards sex hasn't encouraged filmmakers from dealing with sexuality.

Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Half Of A Yellow Sun play

Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Half Of A Yellow Sun



'Half of a Yellow Sun' was delayed from opening at the cinemas at the scheduled date because censors wanted several scenes to be slashed including scenes of a sexual nature. At the end of the day, thanks to the NFVCB and pirates the movie was a commercial flop in Nigeria.

There are Nollywood movies (Yoruba movies inclusive) that have sex scenes but that doesn't mean Nigerian sexuality has a strong presence in our movies. You can shoot a movie about sexuality and not have sex scenes. Facts.

While you can understand why our filmmakers don't do much on sexuality, it is strange that we have not seen an upsurge of Nollywood movies that deal with youth and pop culture.


Most movies in Nigeria are either romantic movies or comedies. In a nation where the youth demography is the largest, there are little movies for young people to watch that directly appeals to them.

Menace II Society movie poster play

Menace II Society movie poster



In England, there is 'Trainspotting' and 'Kiduthood'. In America, there are movies like 'New Jack City', and 'Menace II Society', which deal with what it is like being a young black man in America. In Nigeria, we can't point at movies like these.

While Nollywood is getting it in production quality, it failed to produce the Nigerian narrative. The narrative for us should be progressive devoid of conservative sexist laws and ageism.

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