Busola Tejumola, Wana Udobang, Others Discuss Importance Of Indigenous Stories and Content Expectations For 2023
Africa Magic held an intimate conversation with Nigerian filmmakers and film enthusiasts at the 2023 Africa NXT Festival.
Moderated by renowned poet, writer and filmmaker Wana Udobang, the panel conversation featured a chat with the Executive Head of Content & West Africa Channels, MultiChoice Nigeria, Dr Busola Tejumola and MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy Director, Atinuke Babatunde. Other key panel members included Series Producer Nwanyi Ike, Victor Okpala, Series Producers, Irora Iya, Allen Onyige and Adeniyi Joseph-Omobulejo, and Head of Production, MultiChoice, Victor Aghahowa.
The conversation centred around ‘the imperative of indigenous content’, where the panel discussed the importance of creating authentic African stories in our local languages. Dr Tejumola explained that it was essential to have these discussions about creating more indigenous content because there’s been so much westernization, thanks to the world being a global village.
She said, “In Nigeria alone, we have over 250 tribes and ways of living, and stories for days. We can tell 250,000 stories in a year, and you won’t repeat any of them. There is just uniqueness and diversity in our stories. As a brand, we are not just jumping on a trend with indigenous stories. We’ve told these stories for over a decade through our Africa Magic Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa channels. As much as we believe that local content that appeals nationally is good, we know that people want to see themselves represented on screen.”
As part of the drive to tell more indigenous stories like the newly released Nwanyi Ike and the upcoming Africa Magic original series – Dala Dala and Irora Iya, MultiChoice Nigeria is beginning the indoctrination from the younger filmmakers. Through its MultiChoice Talent Factory, they encourage young storytellers to tell more of our local stories through programmes like ‘Colours of Africa’.
Babatunde explains this further, saying, “We are telling the young talents not to let their stories be shaped by the narratives of the West. The MultiChoice Talent Factory also has ‘Colours of Africa’, specially reserved for indigenous stories.”
While it is essential to tell African stories creatively, it’s also imperative that they are produced correctly and interestingly. Aghahowa explains it simply as telling culturally authentic stories that can strike a chord with someone from a different culture.
Even though Africa Magic isn’t creating a new niche and is instead tapping into an already existing market, the goal for speaking about and championing indigenous content is to amplify that indigenous film space. Africa Magic wants to upscale that part of the industry. MultiChoice is making it happen by training more filmmakers. Beyond the talent factory, the broadcasting company has a portal where creatives can register to engage with other creatives. MultiChoice Talent Factory also takes small masterclasses every year. In 2022 alone, they held 320 masterclasses, teaching both the creative and business sides of filmmaking.
As a part of making indigenous content trendy again for younger audiences, Africa Magic has a slew of series set to premiere this year, one of which includes a reboot of the iconic ‘Ripples’.
Dr Tejumola gave a detailed account saying, “This year, we have about 28 titles, spanning 120/65/52/13/6 episodes across all our channels, specifically for the language channels. Victor’s ‘Nwanyi Ike’ started running on February 1. It runs on weekdays at 7 pm on Africa Magic Igbo (DStv ch. 159). We also have the Hausa series, ‘Dalla Dalla’ coming on February 13 and ‘Irora Iya’ on March 1, on AM Yoruba. These are just some of the many titles coming. I’ll say that everyone should stay tuned to Africa Magic.”
She added, “you don’t have to watch on an actual TV screen. You can take your content with you everywhere you go with DStv Now and the Showmax app. Even when you go out to vote and are in long queues, your favourite shows can keep you company. All you need is some data and a connection. We have something that can cater to everyone’s needs.”