The Audience’s Cognitive Attitude to Nollywood Films’ Representation of Pre-Colonial South-East Nigeria

Kate Azuka Omenugha, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
Nelson Obinna Omenugha, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Henry Chigozie Duru, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
Published: December 9, 2019

Citation: Omenugha, K. A., Omenugha, N. O., & Dura, H. C. (2019). The Audience’s Cognitive Attitude to Nollywood Films’ Representation of Pre-Colonial South-East Nigeria. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 4(2).


The emergence of Nollywood in 1992 sparked enthusiasm among scholars and stakeholders who consider it as a unique opportunity for Nigeria to tell her story by herself as against what has been perceived as “biased” portrayal of the continent and her people by foreign media. Apart from the external goal of ensuring a good image for the continent, there is the internal objective of enhancing positive sharing of experience and memory among the local population. However, in pursuing this latter goal, the internal audience must be taken into consideration because their perception and attitude towards such “African story told by Africans” will be key to how much impact the story will have on individuals and society. Against this background, this paper investigates the cognitive disposition of the audience in the South-East of Nigeria towards the historical representation of that region of the country in Nollywood films. Situated within the framework of the theories of uses and gratifications and selective processes, the study is designed as triangulated research combining survey and focus group discussion. Among others, findings indicate that the viewers perceive film as capable of functioning effectively as a medium for preserving and transmitting history. It concludes that since Nigerian films are perceived as genuinely communicating their history, they equally have the transmitting power that builds and conserves memories among the people. The study thus recommends, among others, that the filmmakers should endeavour to select contents that are healthy and beneficial aimed at enriching shared experiences.


history, Nigerian film, Nollywood, memory, pre-colonial, representation, South-East Nigeria