The second edition of Queen of Nollywood Awards Germany took place recently. The event, which honoured practitioners of the Nigerian home-grown movie industry, was attended by hundreds of fans of the African movie industry, including a sister of former President Barack Obama.
The presence of Dr Auma Obama, from Kenya, in the south-western German city of Ludwigshafen on 2 December 2017 for the annual event is proof that the efforts of Teddy Oscar, his wife Ijeoma and their partner Franklin Ike are being noticed across Africa. The trio are the brains behind Queen of Nollywood Awards Germany.
Oscar believes that Nollywood, which has inspired similar industries in other Africa countries, is a cultural force that needs promotion in the Diaspora.
The phenomenal growth of Nollywood, which is the world’s second biggest film industry after India’s Bollywood, and similar industries in the continent, has been described by scholars as a force for decolonisation of the African mind.
As African stories told by African voices, Nollywood films, produced either in English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba or other Nigerian languages, reflect the realities, conditions, concerns and identities of the people for whom they are made.
Oscar pointed to the fact that Nollywood films are watched across Africa and in the Caribbean and United Sates and also in the worldwide African Diaspora communities. Nollywood has thus created a true mass medium for continental and Diaspora Africans in the 21st century, he explained.
According to Oscar, the ‘Queen of Nollywood International’, an award for aspiring Diaspora-based young actresses, is a way to reach out to young Africans in the Diaspora. “It will enable them to connect with their culture of origin,” the businessman and cultural ambassador explains.
The fact that Nollywood’s example has been followed across Africa – there is Riverwood in Kenya, Camwood in Cameroon, Ugowood in Uganda, Ghollywood in Ghana, Jollywood in South Sudan etc shows that Africa is taking back the right to tell its own story, Oscar said.
The annual event is also an empowerment programme. Contestants at the ‘Queen of Nollywood International’ are linked with the industry, opening up opportunities for them to pursue a career in acting, said Oscar.
The winner of the first edition of the contest, Gina Chidinma Neboh, acted in The Humble Traitor, a Nollywood film, featuring other Germany-based actors and actresses such as Chukwuma Chijioke, Kingsley Ndubuisi, Zuba, Agnes Emmanuel and Asa (ogbuebune), was premiered in Ludwigshafen on 2 December.
Initiated by Urbanmingles Magazine Africa, the event debuted in Lagos in 2003 and resulted from a research project, entitled Who’s Who in the Nigeria Entertainment Industry.
According to Oscar, the Queen of Nollywood Awards is committed to increasing representation of African women in front of the camera in film, television and in traditional and new media.