The Nollywood Movies: How Nigerians In South Africa & Nigerians In Nigeria Interpret Movies Differently

Do Nigerians in Nigeria and Nigerians in South Africa interpret the Nollywood movies the same way?

In 2016, Prof Uchenna Onuzulike published a research study that was aimed at addressing the above question and more. The study compared Nigerians in South Africa and Nigerians in Nigeria to determine what these two groups like (favorite aspects) and dislike (disliked aspects) about Nollywood movies.

#ProudlyAfrican: Nigerians in South Africa and Nigeria prefer Nollywood movies about Nigerian and African cultures. 

The research results demonstrated that the Nigerians in South Africa and Nigerians in Nigeria liked the portrayal of Nigerian/African culture over other topics.

Nollywood movies in Nigeria

What do Nigerians in South Africa like about the Nollywood movies?

Culture – 35.90%; Humour – 20.51%; Morals/ Life Lessons – 16.67%; Quality – 14.10%; The Supernatural – 5.13%; Depiction Of Real Life – 2.56%; No Likes – 5.13%; and Wealth – 0%

What do Nigerians in Nigeria like about the Nollywood movies?

Culture – 34.21%; Depiction Of Real Life – 23.68%; No Likes – 15.79%; Quality – 13.16%; Humour – 5.26%; Wealth – 5.26%; Morals/Life Lessons – 2.63%; and The Supernatural – 0%.

Nigerians in Nigeria tended to like reality while Nigerians in South Africa did not but expressed a greater preference for comedy.

#QualityExcites: Nigerians in South Africa do not like poorly produced Nollywood movies

The results also demonstrated that Nigerians in South Africa disliked the “repetition, poor quality, and the supernatural” aspects of the movies. The researcher’s analysis demonstrated that the quality of Nollywood movies influence how viewers interpret the movies.

The research findings suggested that nostalgia caused Nigerians outside Nigeria to look for movies that enabled them “to escape into a Nigeria that never was”.

What do Nigerians in South Africa dislike about the Nollywood movies?

Quality – 34.62%; No Dislike – 33.33%; The Supernatural – 23.08%; Romance – 5.13%; Repetition/ Predictability – 3.85%; and Piracy – 0%.

Nollywood movie makers need to focus on quality

What do Nigerians in Nigeria dislike about the Nollywood movies?

Quality – 52.63%; Repetition/ Predictability – 18.42%; Piracy – 13.16%; The Supernatural – 7.89%; Romance – 5.26%; and No Dislikes – 2.63%.

The Nigerians in Nigeria disliked repetition in the movies, which could be considered part of quality issue.

The findings also indicate that the geographic location of Nigerians in South Africa and Nigerians in Nigeria contributed to how they interpreted Nollywood movies.

What academics want to know:

  • Research approach: Qualitative
  • Sampling technique: Purposive sampling
  • Sample size: 116 participants; 38 Nigerian students from the University of Nigeria Nsukka; 78 Nigerians residing in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa.
  • Sample characteristics: 18 to 45 years; 92 male and 24 female
  • Their occupations and education were a distinct mix
  • Analysis: The researcher used Reception analysis also known as audience reception.

The Researcher

Prof is Uchenna Onuzulike is an Assistant Professor at Bowie State University’s Department of Communications. He completed a PhD in Communication and Culture at Howard University in 2014, with a dissertation titled Ethnic and Transnational Identities in the Diaspora: A Phenomenological Study of Second-Generation Igbo-American Young Adults. 


Onuzulike, U. 2016. Audience Reactions to the Different Aspects of Nollywood Movies [Online]. Available on: CINEJ Cinema Journal. 5(2). 87-104.

Onuzulike, U. 2017. Curriculum Vitae [Online]. Available on: Academia

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