December, 2004

Musekeweya: “New Dawn”

Our story begins at a point where the two villages of Bumanzi and Muhumuro in Rwanda co-exist relatively harmoniously. Behind closed doors, however, neighbours from either village tend to view the others suspiciously. The people of Bumanzi have more food because the soil on their hill is more fertile, and this has created animosity between the two villages.

Despite these tensions, two families living in the two separate villages have developed a very strong relationship over the years. The storyline follows their struggles to remain close when tensions escalate between the two villages and the Romeo and Juliet-style romance between a man and a woman living on the opposite hills.



October, 2004

Chat, snaps and videotape: Episode 1

“The government is bad in that they know we deserve this and that, but they believe it’s for them and not for us,” says singer African China explaining the lyrics to his song. This first programme of a four-part series broadcast on the BBC World Service, looks at how singers criticising the government are reflecting the trends and concerns of current Nigerian society. It starts with visit to a poor town of Lagos state called Ajegunle where a new genre of music – called galala –  has developed and explores other popular Nigerian musical genres, including Afro beat, Juju, Fuji, hip hop and rap.

Includes an interview with Fela Kuti

October, 2004

Chat, snaps and videotape: Episode 2

This programme explores what photography reveals about life in Nigeria and how Nigerians like to be portrayed. It begins at a wedding ceremony in Kano, northern Nigeria. We visit a portrait studio with its aspirational costumes and props in Kano, and get behind the scenes at a high society wedding in Lagos that’s being covered by Ovation magazine – Nigeria’s version of OK or Hello magazine – which covers the weddings and graduations of the country’s wealthiest members. One columnist says: “We’re a very flamboyant society… it’s important to be seen in Ovation if you want your wedding to be recorded as anything.” But other photographers are going against the grain and recording another side of Nigeria – its poverty, its “area boys” – urban youth from Lagos island – and its hairstyles.

October, 2004

Chat, snaps and videotape: Episode 3

This Episode, broadcast on the BBC World Service, charts the latest developments in independent radio in Nigeria and asks whether the air waves are reflecting the diversity of Nigerian voices in the country.

The first independent radio station started broadcasting in 1994, and many have cropped up since then. But there are questions around the closure of Raypower Kano, one of the first independent radio stations in the country. The National Broadcast Commission claimed the closure was due to them not having an up-to-date broadcast license and nothing to do with their coverage of the elections and their liberalisation of the political space, but others think otherwise.

Given that independent radio stations are based in the cities and not in many rural areas of the country, which have little advertising revenue, how do the poor get their voices heard? While community radio stations could be a means for changing that, the license fees are proving too high for most communities to afford.

October, 2004

Chat, snaps and videotape: Episode 4

Nigeria’s booming Nigerian video industry is the country’s most dominant form of popular culture. Many of the videos have magic and ritual elements, the origins of which can be found in Yoruba travelling theatre. Some criticise the industry’s gorier films with lashings of fake blood for creating misleading portraits of the country. But a true event – a gardener was found carrying a body part  in 1996 – sparked films on ritual killings and cultism. The Nigerian Film and censors board is tightening up censorship of the films but is there is a risk that these changes could lead to a sanitised version of the country on film that is not fully reflective of its culture and traditions?

Includes an interview with well-known film maker Tunde Kelani

June, 2002

Focus on Africa

This radio news package examines how slash and burn agriculture provided farmers with a strategy for surviving the ongoing instability in Liberia.