Monday, 29 September 2014

Yoruba Movies Get Condemnations Over Fetish Practices

In spite of the commendations that Nigerian movies, Nollywood, has been receiving from viewers all over the world, some of the movies, especially Yoruba movies, have been attracting criticisms as regards how fetish practices are portrayed in such movies.

According to recent statistics from the Nigeria Movie Critics, NMC, seven out of every ten movies released every week since 2012, portrays ritual exercise.
It added that at least an actor from every four out of seven movies will run mad at the end of the movies.
Speaking on this development, Mulikat Adio, a home video dealer, spoke in support of Yoruba movie actors saying: “People should learn to appreciate what Nollywood actors are doing by exposing the evil nature of traditional practitioners (Babalawos) through their movies.
“These movies are not design towards debasing our moral values but to celebrate our culture and the value of our traditional history.
“The story line in most of the movies is better and superior to the foreign ones, but I do support those saying all the fetish practices portrayed in some of the home videos should be done away with.”

Scene from a Yoruba movie
Also, Harrison Smith argues that the constant display of fetish exercise in Yoruba movies is gradually killing the creativity and suspense that usually keeps viewers glued to the movies till the end.
He said: “The consistence display of ritual exercise in Yoruba movies makes it easy for every smart viewer to predict the outcome of every movie and that demeans the value of creativity in the industry.
“The idea of “every problem must be solved by Babalawo syndrome” must be critically looked into and they should constructively initiate a more creative idea to compete with contemporary movies.
“It usually seems like movie producer is stuck at the end of every story and eventually device the herbalist consultation to solve all issues, this takes away all creativity in the work and makes it boring.
“I prefer movies in which characters fashions out solutions to the challenges and solve them.
“Instead, these characters head off to the babalawos’ houses, churches, or mosque when they face any problem. Nothing is as boring as watching people who can’t use their brains to solve problems on the small screen.”
Mrs Ola-Smith also shares her concern for the continuous display fetish practices in Yoruba movies.
In her own word: “Since I came back from the UK few months ago, I’m beginning to get worried about the same issue raised in Yoruba movies.
“I am a great lover and supporter of quality cultural Yoruba movies and I rent up to 10 to 20 movies each week.
“I am now beginning to get irritated by the amount of lack of self-belief of the producers and the use of almost same traditional story line.
“You would be surprised that out of all the Yoruba movies I’ve watched so far, it is just about 3 that doesn’t contain a herbalist scene?.”

However, Mrs Adebukola Ake points out some of the implications of this occultist trend.
She said: “I believe that these movies are responsible for the high rate of occult practices in the country today as these actors make it feels like fetish practice is part of our heritage.
“This explains why foreigners who study our culture through the movies they watch to perceive that Nigerians are fetish.
“My sister, who was married to a white man in Europe for about five years, says her husband refused to visit Nigeria through out their marriage because, according to her, he thinks Nigerians are into voodoo.”
A Yoruba movie producer, Adebunmi Olaopa, while dismissing the claim that Yoruba movies encourage fetish consultation, said that what they portray in their movie is usually hinged on what is obtainable in the society.
“Don’t let us get it wrong, it is the society that influences our movies, not the other way round. Most of our stories are inspired by real life events that we want our viewers to learn from.
“We make a very rigorous research before we go into production, sometimes we meet with law enforcement agents who gives us details of issues such as kidnapping, abduction, ritual killing and other fetish issues that fall on their desk every day.
“These are what we consider before we choose to embark on any movie production,” Olaopa stated.
Meanwhile, Akin Arejan, a popular Yoruba movie producer, added that the Nigerian movie industry is working towards establishing an internal screening exercise that will rate movies and recommend if they are viewers-friendly content that is void of extra-terrestrial activities.
“We are aware that the world is changing and we cannot be left behind. We want to assure all Yoruba movie lovers that our stories shall be revaluated and shall satisfy the expectation of all the categories of our viewers very soon,” he said.

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