Indigenous Narratives as Experimental Cinematic Texts in Nigerian Films




cinematic texts; native narratives; Nigerian films; experimental


The paper seeks to consider the employment of folkloric tales (traditional stories) in indigenous Nigerian films as stimuli for establishing a definitive film industry. The integration of oral features into Nigerian films dates back to the era (1980–1990s) of early films in Nigeria: consider Ajani Ogun (1976), Daskin da Ridi (1990), Egg of Life (2003), Festival of Fire (1999) etcetera. Studies on Nigerian film and oral culture established that the strong narratives of Nollywood films are drawn from indigenous folk stories; indeed, the films are mostly adaptations of folktales. This article demonstrates Nigeria’s cultural history through investigating the role of culture as a strong contributor to media development in Nigeria. The research is based on textual analysis of three Nigerian films, namely The Fish Girl (2016), Hypocrisy (1992) and Daskin da Ridi (1990) as primary texts. The methodology is primarily textual. The study draws on a textual analysis of selected Nigerian films to determine their sources. The study adopts the African film theory which juxtaposes the pre-modern with modernity where the oral tradition and filmmakers are fused together, as highlighted by Tomaselli (1992). The hypothesis is that traditional folktales play an important role in the development of the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood). The study reveals that folktales and other oral genres set a footprint for film texts in Nollywood movies. Therefore, this indicates that there is a clear (although thus far, often ignored) bond between indigenous folk narratives and modern Nigerian films.

Author Biography

Joshua Usman, Nelson Mandela University

Postgraduate Student, Nelson Mandela University, Summer Strand, Port Elizabeth, South Africa



How to Cite

Usman, Joshua. 2019. “Indigenous Narratives As Experimental Cinematic Texts in Nigerian Films”. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 29 (2):21 pages.



Received 2018-04-22
Accepted 2019-09-02
Published 2019-11-22