Movies For National Development

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There is a popular saying that films are a reflection of society, yes, this is true but films not only reflect society, but they can also change it by telling impactful, compelling and informative stories.

Seeing movies are interesting pastime activities that keep the mind entertained. However, movies aren’t just about entertainment, rather they can also contribute to social change and encourage social and political participation.

Often, they serve as a motivational tool to inspire citizens to engage in developmenttal activities which cut across social, economic, political and cultural divides for individual and national development.

From the team of Nigeria’s Nollywood producers to Ghana’s Ghollywood giants to South African movie producers and others on the African continent, the African movie industry has produced movies which have impacted the continent positively.

In this write-up, we will look at ways through which movies have been and can be used for national development.

To start with, imagine yourself in a cinema or movie room seeing the Malawian movie: “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind ” which depicted the inspiring story of a young teenager whose community was faced with starvation due to drought.

As one who is natural at engineering and with some information at his disposal, he was inspired to build a windmill that brought sufficient water to the surface to save the crops in his community, save lives affected by starvation and effectively got his community engaged in their farming activities through which they flourished.

At the end of this movie, I bet as an African, one is bound to come out with thoughts of possibilities, problem-solving mentality, thoughts of harnessing available resources or even thoughts of discovering and developing the talents in almost every individual for the development of the critical infrastructures to grow the continent.

Such is the power of movies on all humans irrespective of age or class or gender. Like the example above, movies have the potential to inform, educate and uplift people’s spirits to do more for themselves and society at large.

The African movie industries also enhance national development through stories that focus on peaceful co-existence, good governance, fighting corruption and building on the African culture for good.

To catch a feel of this, take a few hours to see the Nigerian movie, “The Invaders”, which projects Nigeria’s fight against ethno- religious wars.

The movie also depicts how politicians use campaigns to drive ethnoreligious sentiments as and when needed to achieve their selfish interests while the movie also admonishes Nigerians on the right things to do which is to shun campaigns of disunity during the electioneering period and promote peaceful coexistence.

The same feelings and thoughts are also provoked in the Nigerian feature film ” Water of Gold” which preaches against corruption in all forms and teaches Nigerians about whistle-blowing against corrupt practices.

Based on feedback and research, seven months after the release of the movie, its impact was felt as about 240 people in 106 small communities where the movie was shown were spurred to send in reports of corrupt practices.

Well, that happens to be just a few as there exist others across the various countries on the continent teaching values and national ethics.

Economically, filmmaking also rakes in so much money for countries in Africa which promotes nation-building and aid development either directly or indirectly.

For instance, Nigeria’s Nollywood according to a 2021 UNESCO report created an estimated one million direct jobs, making it the second-largest employer in Nigeria after agriculture.

With that, the industry contributes almost one billion dollars to Nigeria’s economy annually.

The report further stated that on the continental stage, Africa’s film and audio-visual sectors could create over 20 million jobs and contribute around $20 billion to the continent’s combined GDP.

In other areas of social issues, gender and cultural issues, African films serve as a vital point of integration as they can help build better relations and motivate communities on collaborative actions to fight a common cause.

This was exemplified in the 2021 Tanzanian film, Binti, which triggered a conversation on gender norms, gender-based violence and the role of women, especially in urban societies.

Being a film by women and for women, Binti which in Swahili means “daughter” draws attention to some of the realities of the girl-child as she grows into a girlfriend, wife and mother as well as societal expectations of her which sometimes puts pressure on her wellbeing while also indirectly pointing out the gaps that can be filled by all in the society to make life worth living for women.

So many other movies have all impacted lives, inspired desired steps for behavioural changes and addressed negative stereotypes about Africa that have been passed down over the years.

As much as movies have proven to be impactful tools for national development, they have some negative impacts but as the positives outweigh the negatives, filmmakers need to continue to choose the right content for the right audience to continue to inspire, educate, reshape and add values that will develop the continent and take Africa to enviable heights.

Movies For National Development

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