Kannywood stars from top to bottom: Maryam Booth, Ali Nuhu, Jamila Umar, Ibrahim Maishunku
Many wonder why Kannywood is necessary. Doesn't Nollywood represent us all? Well, yes and no.
Secondly Nollywood is mostly Christian and westernised, whilst Northern Nigerians are mostly Muslim and Middle-Easternised. This means that Hausas often cannot identify with much of the motivations, interactions and morality in the films.
Kannywood movies are also more conservative in style, (modest dressing, almost no male and female touching) concentrate on Hausa-Islamic culture (e.g. polygamous marriages, the Qu'ran) and music and dance interludes are used as a storytelling device similar to Bollywood films. However, both industries share similarities in that marriage and familial relationships dominate plot lines and popular conventions like village life, religion, absence of child characters and respect for elders are integral.
Starring Ali Nuhu, Hajara Usman and Zainab Yunusa Odariko
A domineering mother does everything she can to get rid of her son's virtuous wife
Kannywood is an expression of a Hausa-Fulani sub-culture within the Nigerian national culture, in the same way that the African-American TV channel BET exists alongside mainstream channels and the Black British MOBO awards exists despite the Brit Awards.
Criticisms of Kannywood for being tribalist are disingenuous because we are all aware of our cultural differences.
Nigeria was a region populated by hundreds of tribal groups and leadership systems, where distinct kingdoms like the Benin, Oyo, Nupe and Sokoto empires lived independently from, and sometimes were at war with each other.
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria's first Prime Minister said in 1948:
"Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs...Nigerian unity is only a British invention."
Eminent Politician Obafemi Awolowo said in 1947:
"Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no 'Nigerians' in the same sense as there are 'English', 'Welsh' or 'French'. The word 'Nigerian' is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not."
If Africa hadn't been colonised by Europeans, there probably would be over 2,000 countries in the continent due to the diversity of its peoples and their desire for autonomy; and the area called Nigeria would be made up of at least eight countries. In contrast to Western Europe which has 18 countries speaking around 18 languages, Nigeria alone houses 250 languages.
*Quotes taken from 'The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence' by Martin Meredith