Living in bondage: A dream deferred or a promise betrayed for Igbo linguistic and cultural renaissance?

A Emejulu Obiajulu, Chima Amadi Dan
2014 International Journal of English and Literature  
When the seminal home video movie, Living in Bondage, burst into the market and Nigerian homes in 1991, it literally hit the ground running! It was such an instant hit that it caused a revolution in the Nigerian movie industry akin to the literary revolution set off by Chinua Achebe with Things Fall Apart fifty-six years ago. One aspect of the novelty, mystic, charm and great promise of the great movie was that it was rendered in Igbo language with English sub-titling. It triggered a rash of
more » ... ggered a rash of home video productions in several Nigerian languages notably Igbo, Ibibio, Edo, Hausa and Yoruba in English subtitles. For the Igbos and their language -still to recover sufficiently from the debilitating effects of the Nigerian civil war, the Biafran War -that seminal movie seemed to herald the beginning of a much awaited linguistic and cultural renaissance. But that was not to be. The Nigerian home video industry did grow from its humble beginnings in Living in Bondage to become a world renowned industry called Nollywood -named and rated third after the Indian Bollywood and the American Hollywood. Unfortunately, the Igbo language component of the revolution soon petered out like a flash in the panan unfortunate victim of the dictate of the profit motive and yet another evidence of the free fall of the Igbo language from its previous position of strength in the era of Tony Ubesie, hailed as 'probably the most gifted and accomplished Igbo writing fiction today in any language' (Emenyonu, 2001:33).
doi:10.5897/ijel2014.0629 fatcat:dbjnqz4cnzaixhs62ehta2ycsy