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Pope Bitterz D'Alomo
25th March 2011, 03:35 PM
ONCE again filmmakers from all the corners of Africa and the diaspora will converge on Yenagoa in Bayelsa, Nigeria, for the 7th annual African Movie Academy Awards.

What has been interesting about the competition is that at the beginning, because the initiative came from Nigeria, many filmmakers from that part of the country entered and scooped many awards.

Besides they already had a fighting chance because Nollywood, which churns out thousands of movies a year, was already on solid ground.

It was inevitable that they would enter in numbers and collect most of the stunning carved black woodware that has become the pride of the winning filmmaker and an aspiration for those who have not taken any home.

During those early days South Africa, which was beaten by even Zimbabwe, hardly featured in the competition, except in music when, for three years running, the late internationally acclaimed Miriam Makeba sang for South Africans.

But slowly South Africans have begun to realise the importance of telling local stories.

As Africans we now agree that distortions of our history were mainly because as a people we never wrote anything down.

Our stories were told orally and somewhere along the line those who could write offered to do it and ended up portraying our people as good-for-nothing bloodthirsty savages who were so stupid that taking land from them was as easy as taking candy from a baby.

Today South Africans have joined other filmmakers who have produced sterling work with shoestring budgets and almost nonexistent infrastructure.

Hence the emergence of brilliant film producers such as Sello "Chicco" Twala, whose Madluphuthu series has sold thousands of DVDs purely on word of mouth.

Then you get stunning film producers that include Akin Omotoso, Rapulana Seiphemo, Kenny Nkosi and Khalo Matabane.

Interestingly Matabane's Conversation at a Park on a Sunday Afternoon and Gugu no Andile have gone on to win awards.

For the first time since the inception of the awards seven years ago South Africans have entered in great numbers and are going to wipe that arrogant smirk off Naija's face.

As for executive producer Advocate Peace Anyiami Osigwe, we would like to thank her for her determination, tenacity, foresight, vision and passion.

The competition has not only united African brothers and sisters but has developed Yenegoa to one of the fastest growing cities in Nigeria.


Congratulations to all the nominees and may the best film win.

the sowetan