ROTIMI IGE, in this feature, explores the many ways through which terrestrial pay-tv platform, GOtv promotes and preserves Nigerian culture via its Africa Magic channels.
Television has changed the way the world is seen and understood. The world over, media, especially via television, continues to play a significant role in everyday life and living. The reliance on this particular tool for information dissemination is not surprising as people want to see, learn and be informed about everything happening around them. In Nigeria, access to quality channels and programmes, especially satellite coverage, had been a challenge for the larger population because of the cost of acquiring such services. Multichoice, via its GOtv platform, has changed all that.
With a population of over 200 million, GOtv Nigeria has bridged the gap for the masses, bringing quality TV programming to their doorstep, thus keeping them informed, engaged and entertained, at an affordable rate. It has remained the foremost custodian of Nigerian culture, while also linking it with the rich history of the continent, through its Africa Magic channels.
The country, blessed with many indigenous languages and several unique cultures, had been at the risk of being lost due to rapid westernisation and the introduction of Multichoice African Magic language-specific channels, according to many who spoke to Friday Treat, was a much needed saving grace.
According to MultiChoice, when GOtv Nigeria made its debut onto the cable space, it sought to do what most of its competitors couldn’t pull off; use its platform to celebrate and promote the rich culture, customs and traditions of Nigeria and Africa. This, according to them, was achieved through the patriotism of its language-dedicated Africa Magic channels.
Classified into the three majorly spoken languages in Nigeria and later a further segmentation of additional Nigerian-content English channels (AM Family, AM Epic, AM Urban and AM Showcase), the Africa Magic channels promote indigenous talent, content, languages and cultures using movies, series, documentaries to show the world the Nigerian way of life.
Asides sourcing for content from independent producers, thus keeping them engaged, the parent company, MultiChoice Nigeria, also invests in producers in creating unique content. Some of these with hugely followed programmes include: ‘The Johnsons’, ‘Enakhe’, ‘Eve’, ‘Elenini’, ‘Halita’, among others.
‘Elenini’ tells the story of Uzor and Bisola, lovers from different Nigerian cultures, taken from the comfort of matrimony and yanked into turmoil as their marital secrets are revealed. The drama beautifully tells itself in original Yoruba and a dose of Igbo language.
‘Halita’, set in northern Nigeria, is the gripping story of a 19-year-old village girl called away by adventure from the village when her mother Rebecca, falls ill and she has to go and work as a secretary but ends up in the Zamani home as a house-help instead.
‘The Johnsons’ is one of the most popular sitcoms from Africa Magic in Africa and shows the daily lives of the Johnsons family. These and more keep millions of Nigerians informed, entertained and grants many various sources of livelihood.
Amit Shirvya, an Indian working at an audit firm in Lagos told Friday Treat how ‘The Johnsons’ on Africa Magic Family has changed the way he interacts with his family.
He said, “Usually, my wife and children watch Zee World, but the viewing times of ‘The Johnsons’ on Africa Magic is when we all sit together and watch as a family. There is a character for everyone and I have learnt a lot from the father figure of Mr Johnson. Africa Magic time is family time for us”.
Ada Okoye, a youth corps member, in her submission said, “Africa Magic Epic and Igbo are the only channels my mother and grandmother can relate to on my GOtv decoder. Whenever they come to visit me in Lagos, I love watching the glee on their faces when they bond over their discussions on what happens during a movie. They would analyse scenarios as if it were real life. I cherish those times”.
Amina Mohammed, an undergraduate of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, said she watches Africa Magic Hausa because their movies are educational and explain what happens in society.
“There are many aspects of the Nigerian culture that my generation doesn’t know about. The movies bring it back to us, so that we can learn about our history”.
Asides the movies and programmes being broadcast on these channels, millions of Nigerians in the entertainment industry, saddled with the task of making the movies, series, documentaries testify to the impact and exposure the Africa Magic channels offer.
‘Awon Aladun De’ is a Yoruba series independently produced and recorded in Ibadan, Oyo State and has been screened on Africa Magic Yoruba for years.
Babatunde Ojobaro a.k.a Katastrophe, a comedian, Master of Ceremonies and thespian, is one of the actors on the set of the series. Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune, he spoke about how being part of the series and the exposure has helped his blossoming career.
“It has been a wonderful time. I have learnt more about the movie production business and today, I own a vibrant stage play production outfit that has organised over 10 various productions across the South West in three years. The exposure has been great for my personal growth and career. I am immensely grateful”, he said.
It could be said that these Africa Magic channels are not just a number to tune to watch content, but are digital museums that enable the documentation and preservation of culture for the present and future generations, thus educating not just Nigerians or the African continent about our stories and ways of life, but showing the world the rich heritage that is embedded in our history.
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