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Messages - Muhsin

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1
General Board / On the Kannywood/Nollywood Dichotomy and Related Issues
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:39:12 AM »
On the Kannywood/Nollywood Dichotomy and Related Issues

Muhsin Ibrahim
Institute of African Studies and Egyptology
University of Cologne
muhsin2008@gmail.com

I attended a conference themed “The Other’s Other: Performance and Representation in Language” organized by, and held at, the University of Cologne, Germany, between 25-26 Sept. 2017. I presented a talk on the subaltern themes and motifs in the Nigerian film industries [emphasis added]. It is a common knowledge, I guess, to all that “Othering” does not only exist in the film, it thrives. Thus, my paper argues on how the regional filmmakers in Nigeria have, consciously or not, been widening the existing binary and rivalry between the country’s diverse ethnic and religious groups. At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, the paper generated a lot of discussions and debates. This article is sort of a précis of the talk and the debates.

The focus of the deliberations, particularly in the post-conference side talk, was surprisingly changed from “Othering” to the existence and peculiarities of Kannywood film industry besides the “Global Nollywood”, to use Krings and Okome (2013) term. The distinction is, of course, arguable, but I am of the strong belief that it exists. The regional, ethnic, linguistic and thematic differences between the two industries are too many and too glaring to be swept under the carpet. The Indian Bollywood, for example, too, does not represent all the country’s film industries, which are quite many and independent. A typical example can be cited with that record-breaking epic fantasy, Bahuali (2016&2017). To the surprise of many, as a film made by the south Indian company, it was not produced under the banner of the mainstream Bollywood.

Some scholars such as Kaplan (1996:661) suggest that “A nation has to develop its own cinematography, its own film language, by relying on its own visual culture, narrative traditions, and capacity for artistic experiments”, Nigeria, much more than India, cannot achieve that because of its heterogeneity and the raging contention between its diverse ethnic groups – IPOB, Niger Delta Avengers, etc. as a few examples. Nollywood and Kannywood are, arguably, the two major, distinct cinemas in Nigeria.



On the one hand, Nollywood is based in the South (mainly Lagos) and produces films with Christianity and mostly Western-influenced motifs as themes, and are largely in English, or other major Nigerian languages, except Hausa. On the other hand, Kannywood (named after Kano state) films are almost exclusively in Hausa; Islam is their trademark, though what they portray may not be in compliance with the religion. The filmmakers look up to Bollywood as role-model. That is why music and dance sequence is one of the prevalent signatures of their films.

For ages, Bollywood has had a long history of spectacular acceptance in northern Nigeria. For many reasons, though not central to the topic under discussion, however, some people believed that there was a need to establish an indigenous film industry. In response to that, Kannywood was born in the early 1990s. In other words, the film industry was purportedly founded as a reaction to the imported foreign films, mainly from India, Hong Kong and America that bear and bring in the foreign ethos that is not religiously and culturally “unsuitable” for the Hausa audience, especially children.

As aforesaid, Nollywood films are markedly different from Kannywood’s. Not only that, there has been a kind of incidental/accidental misrepresentation of the Hausa man in their films. Hausa people have been featured in varied roles. However, they are virtually consistently represented as subordinates or simpletons, and rarely as serious characters. A Hausa man may be a simplistic guardsman who speaks the worst broken English; or a foolish cobbler, a beggar, a corrupt politician with a bulging stomach, speaking in heavily-accented English; a randy old sugar daddy chasing female undergraduates, etc., amid an aristocratic, rich, cultured and educated world of southern people. Directly or indirectly, the Southerner is always the ‘Self’ - and that the northerner is the ‘Other’.

As a subtle counteraction or a subconscious description of the marginalised as well, the usual depiction of the southerners, or even some northern minorities in Kannywood films, is seldom nothing short of a travesty. Zukogi (2014) concludes that the Dan Gwari is constantly portrayed as a heathen who eats pork and gleefully drinks his local gin and is dull in his social interactions and poor in his mastery of the dominant language, Hausa; the Igbo is the quintessential Shylock, mean and grasps in business and money matters; the Yoruba plays the clown, the talkative, rambling character who repeatedly interferes in matters that do not concern him.

In both instances described above, the subalternity is, to adapt Marks’s (2000:05) words, sometimes “narratively thin but emotionally full.” Once a member of that ‘marginalised’ ethnic group watches how his kinsman is portrayed, he feels the pain of the attack, or, as it is the case sometimes, laugh if off.

There is, however, a little improvement in the portrayal of the ‘Other’ in Hausa films in recent years. The two leading film industries have, in an effort to establish an intercultural cinema, experimented a collaboration and produced films like Wata Shari’ar, Maja, Karangiya, Hajiya Babba, etc. in which stars of Kannywood and Nollywood, like the late Rabilu Musa (Dan Ibro), Nkem Owoh (Osofia), John Okafor (Mr. Ibu), Jim Iyke, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Ake and Pawpaw) are featured. Some actors like Ali Nuhu, Sani Danja, and lately Rahama Sadau from Kannywood have equally been featured in some Nollywood films. But this is not enough to lump the two film industries together.

Again, the experimented collaboration was obviously not as successful as anticipated. It has been, by and large, suspended. One may argue, however, that it continues on the satellite channels broadcast series of Dadin Kowa and its sequel, Dadin Kowa Sabon Salo, Zarki, etc. But these are not known actors; most of them are debutants in the series. Yet, worthy of note is that the portrayal of the “other and sub-cultures” is generally positive, and poses to foster mutual respect and understanding among the diverse ethnic groups.
 
In a nutshell, my lecture on this dichotomy exposed to me the fact that Nollywood is amazingly popular in Africa and beyond, while Kannywood still, shockingly, however, lingers in obscurity. I am aware that some select films have been shown in the US and Europe, but the glory of Nollywood is matchless to Kannywood’s. A number of factors are responsible for this, but the chief ones include language (English vs. Hausa); the northerners standoffish, closed attitude towards Kannywood films, and lack of collaboration between our academes and the filmmakers. As I write this, only a single university in the whole Northern Nigeria offers Film Studies as a course. Academics that show interest to study film or a related discipline are still discouraged or denied any chance to do so.



Moreover, to many, supporting Kannywood in whatever name is a sin. The obloquy over and the rejection of the Federal Government’s proposal to build a 3-billion worth film village in Kano, which is the epicenter of Kannywood film production and consumption, is still fresh in our memories. I don’t want to restart any banal argument on the legitimacy or otherwise of what the filmmakers do and whatnot here. What I know for sure is that nobody can ban filmmaking in Kano and other northern states. If that is the case, we should look for ways to make the “rubbish” they do better, etc. Armchair criticism will not change anything. With your permission or not, your wife, kids and wards will watch that which you lampoon on the social media. Thus, we should not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Lest you forget what I have said in the foregoing paragraphs, Kannywood is not Nollywood. The two are related but different.

2
General Board / Re: Emotions and Passion
« on: August 27, 2017, 06:54:59 AM »
Hausa is a very simple language to learn. Pursue your dream. The language should not be a barrier, I guess. I can share some good books/materials with you if you want. Share your email address.

Best wishes.
Muhsin

3
General Board / Re: Ife Massacre I
« on: March 13, 2017, 06:29:09 PM »
Dr. Dumeje Okafor wrote, in reaction to my post on Sabo Ife, Osun killings of Hausa settlers on Facebook:

Muhsin Ibrahim, my brother, as for disbanding the EYE cult (Great Ife) and the NURTW that carried out the attack, it may never happen.

I was at Ile-Ife to visit a friend 2 days ago when the calamity began.  I was involved in treating injuries sustained by 3 Hausa kids (who lost parents too) in the attack.

Later today security meeting was held at Oba's palace by [the] governor, security agencies and traditional institution.

I was giving room to speak and I said the Slapper and the murderers should face the law but one elder shouted me down and asked me "when Brigdet your sister was beheaded at Kano, no be the Attorney General of the state speak say they no get case to answer and they were acquitted? So Great Ife has been acquitted".

Wow! I stood up and said "Nigeria really needs a Doctor, we all are sick".

So why was Brigdet's killers acquitted? Why [were] kids in Sabo (who have no business with girlfriend) injured?

4
General Board / Ife Massacre I
« on: March 13, 2017, 06:28:24 PM »
News: Nigeria is sick 🛏️

According to a Daily Trust report, a fight broke at Panteka market, Kaduna state, between Igbos and Hausawa. Tracing the genesis of the clash, an eyewitness narrated that a Hausa trader, Muhammad, named his dog Ibere, after an Igbo fellow trader. Mr. Ibere warned him to rename the dog but he refused. To even the equation, the Igbo guy purchased a dog and named it Muhammad. And then, all hell broke loose.

Elsewhere, the Daily Nigerian reported from Sabo Ife, Osun state, that a disagreement,which was soon resolved, between a Yoruba lady and a Hausa man led to the massacre of more than 30 Hausa settlers by a militia group, Great Ife. Most of their business places, houses and mosques were razed down.

While I believe that the Hausa trader is at fault for refusing to rename his dog, the Great Ife miscreants have no ground whatsoever to go on rampage and murder such a number of innocent Hausawa. The state government should, as a matter of urgency, take decisive and drastic action to disband the group. Its members should be arrested and charged according to the book.

Nigeria has so much hurdles to overcome for it to move forward. Ethno-religious conflicts are some of the most serious blocks for the country's development. Unfortunately however, the crisis does not seem to end soon, perhaps forever. The recent spade of such clashes between clans should awake the government to take more serious measures, lest things go out of hands. It is despairing. Wallahul musta'aan.

May Allah restore peace in Sabo Ife, Panteka market and all other troubled places, amin. May Allah rest the souls of the deceased, grant speedy recovery for the wounded, and support all others affected, amin.

5
Islam / Is Islam a Curse to Nigerians?
« on: March 13, 2017, 06:20:20 PM »
"Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has more Muslims than any Arab country does." - Lewis, 2006:563.

No doubt, we discuss, argue and fight over the religion more than any other thing. What is, and/or should be, a blessing is turning into a curse. It's sad, unfortunate and despairing.

Talk about Islam, and everyone is a Sheikh. Thanks but no thanks to Google and other similar technology - enabled platforms where every John Doe can just tap/click and voila, the verse and/or the Hadith appears. And he subsequently interprets it the way that suits him.

I am literally speaking tired of the intra religious squabbles we do every so often. I really am. It's largely futile, even puerile. Nowadays, the youths no longer attend Islamic schools, Tafseer and other forums where Islamic exegesis is taught. It's now Facebook, WhatsApp and so on. Hmm.

Islam (or is it the so-called Muslim world?) faces a lot of challenges. We really have to be very careful. Not everything we read online is worth savouring. Many stuffs do not deserve our attention, or deliberation. Go to real scholars. May Allah continue to protect His religion, amin.

6
General Board / Ife Massacre II
« on: March 13, 2017, 06:17:08 PM »
Sometime ago, a video of a Brazilian girl being attacked and torched by a mob went viral. I mistakenly watched it. I profusely regretted doing that, for it kept on hunting me like a scene from a horror film in my childhood.

Again, when the South African xenophobic attacks on Nigerians resurged last month, another video of a guy being shot several times by some attackers went viral. In my curiosity to verify the news of the attacks, I grudgingly watched it. Wallahi the incident still startles me.

And now, the #IfeMassacre occurred. I wrote about the bloodshed on Facebook and Twitter, and talked about it with many people for it's disappointing, disheartening and despairing. Yet I did not watch the video until much later - yesterday, I think. I couldn't help it, for I felt the urge to 'witness' what transpired over there, on the people I care much about, and on whose calamity I write and talk. I felt, and still feel, numbed after watching it. I had nightmare over it. The scene of human beings being on fire and chased like worst of animals is so barbaric, unsettling and unimaginable. Their crime is only being Hausawa! Innaalillaahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji'uun!

All said, I have read some stupidest of God's creations asking us what have we said when the so-called Fulani herdsmen killed people in Southern Kaduna. Another quarried me, when I tweeted the President about it, what did the President say about the same Kaduna killings? Can people be that dumber?

Supposed I or the President haven't said anything, and that's wrong; thus, what's wrong in saying something about #IfeMassacre? Wallahi if that video doesn't move anyone who watches it, one should ask oneself about his/her humanity. I am of the opinion that even the perpetrators would feel for their preys if they later watch the clip.

The Brazilian girl and the purported Nigerian in South Africa were not Hausas, or Muslims. They are humans. But what befell them pulled me down, WALLAHI. However, when some unfeeling fellow Nigerians, blacks, probably Muslims find it undoable or difficult to sympathise and empathise with their fellows is simply beyond my comprehension.

RIP, Humanity. RIP, Common Sense. RIP, One Nigeria.

Muhsin Ibrahim

7
chit-chat / Re: Kanoonline Celebrities
« on: October 28, 2016, 12:01:28 AM »
I'm all for it. Even though I have not been nominated for any award  ???
Guys, lets get together!

Welcome back, sir. Been asking of you all over. Hope you are doing well.

I'm good, alhamduliLah. Yaya aiki? Naji ance ka zama lafchara :D Allah ya taimaka. Ina Auntyn ka, Husna?

Lol! Yes, since 2012. Alhamdulillah. Auntie Husnaa is fine; she's active on Facebook, but  seldom peeps in here.

8
chit-chat / Re: Cigiya 'yan uwa
« on: October 22, 2016, 10:22:20 PM »
Still a ghost town  ::)

Yes. Sad.  :'(

9
chit-chat / Re: Kanoonline Celebrities
« on: October 22, 2016, 10:20:31 PM »
I'm all for it. Even though I have not been nominated for any award  ???
Guys, lets get together!

Welcome back, sir. Been asking of you all over. Hope you are doing well.

10
General Board / Re: Ramadan Mubarak!
« on: July 07, 2016, 02:34:47 PM »
W alaika salam.

Allah ya saka, ya karba mana ibadunmu.

I have been waiting for someone who would call me and give my Zakat. Ha! The month is going fast and nobody is talking. 

You were late. Try again next year. Best wishes.  ;D

11
chit-chat / Re: Kanoonline Celebrities
« on: July 07, 2016, 12:48:33 PM »
Wa'alaik salaam,

I feel flattered. Alhamdulillah.

I seriously think Alh. Nura's idea shouldn't be ignored this way. The reunion means a lot. This forum is unlike any other we are on/in; it's better than even Facebook, Twitter and other dominating social media. I hope the forum elders will come back to this forum, and this thread and contribute towards the realisation of his very good proposal.

Happy Sallah to all, and best wishes.

12
General Board / Re: Barka da Sallah & Eid Mubarak!!!
« on: July 07, 2016, 12:39:46 PM »
I wish everyone had a great Sallah celebration. May we witness many more to come, in sha Allah.

13
General Board / Re: Ramadan Mubarak!
« on: June 20, 2016, 11:48:43 PM »
Wa'alaik salaam,

Belated Ramadan Mubarak, Admin. Amin to the prayers. Thank you.

14
General Board / The Rise of Rape Cases in Kano
« on: May 22, 2016, 02:13:30 PM »
The Rise of Rape Cases in Kano

By
Muhsin Ibrahim

muhsin2008@gmail.com

The recent infamous sodomy case of Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo Secondary School, Kano did not happen in a vacuum. Numerous similar other cases occurred and continue to but they are unfortunately seldom reported, for they did not affect the children of the affluents. For instance, about a week or so ago, I heard on Rahama Radio program that a young man had sexually defiled about 5 boys in their neighborhoods. While interviewed by Fagge Hisbah Command, the amateur homo said that nobody had ever taught, or had a similar contact with him. He, I learned, wanted to say that that was something inborn to him. This is a lie. Homosexuality is nothing innate; sex attraction is physiologically between opposite sexes.

Another horrendous, even more horrible, happening is the spate of rape cases of underage girls in the state. A doctor at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital disclosed that in the hospital alone they, on almost daily basis, get more than ten rape cases of either boys or girls. I didn't believe her story until when I heard that a boy in our neighbourhoods was sexually assaulted last night. And then the stories of similar cases emerged from here and there. I say: Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji'uun! What is our community turning into?

I have chronicled the following on my Facebook page. I think I should repost it on my blog for more publicity and awareness.

As reported on the Freedom Radio “Inda Ranka” program on 7th February 2016, a man raped his friend's daughter after fetching her from their primary school. On another instance, a 65-year-old paedophile raped a 12-year-old girl. Again, a few days later, this time at Gwammaja quarters, a girl, 6, was raped, decapitated and dumped on the street. I was devastated, wallahi.

I grappled with the sinister story for the rest of the night till the almighty sleep surreptitiously snapped me. As I woke up today, the same begins to hunt me. I am out of words to say. It's so sickening such things are happening in our midst.

A far more sickening shocker happened this week. A girl, 16, was waylaid by a gang of four rapists while seeing her friend's boyfriend off at Kawo Maigari, Hotoro quarters. The latter and a friend later joined the assailants who are actually his friends and raped the innocent girl repeatedly. She's now at the hospital battling for her life.

According to the reports, all the savage rapists are children born with silver spoons. Thus, their parents have been restless, doing everything to secure their kids' release. However the Kano police command paraded them, and vows to see that justice prevails.

It's heartrending that girls are becoming more vulnerable in our societies today. It's more heartbreaking that people don't seem to care much. We rather labour ourselves in criticising or defending politicians whom care little or not at all about us.

Due to our nonchalant attitudes, several other similar cases occurred and ended under-reported or unreported at all. Again, the rapists are oftentimes acquitted - and some are never even tried - in spite of whatever evidence brought against them.

I wouldn't get tired of telling parents to be more vigilant and more prayerful. It’s not all doomed. We really need to wake up. Parents and guardians ought to be very wary with regards to the movements of their daughters and wards. Do not trust any non-Maharam near them, though it is no longer girls whose movements and activities should be monitored. The same, or more, measures should be applied on the male children, for they are now equally vulnerable. Know their friends and other people they deal or chat with on the Internet and offline. Do everything, but don't be over protective, for only Allah can truly secure the chaste of our girls today.

India took a number of measures, including legislative ones to curtail dramatic rise in rape in the country. Nigeria should do the same to amend the constitution to apply a capital punishment to anybody found guilty of rape, or a very long sentence with hard labour for these animals. They deserve no mercy whatsoever, for they do not have an ounce of it. I hope Muslim Women Lawyers Association and similar concerned groups and associations will always follow any rape cases in and outside Kano.

Allah ya iya mana kawai, amin.

15
I am ry glad that another mind see's the whole issue from WorldBank/IMF angle. I admire your courage and i believe we are like minds. Be  safe brother

You too stay safe. Thanks.

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