The much anticipated documentary "New Kings of Nigeria" dropped at BBC4 a few days back and while The Independent's Amol Rajan used the word "historic" a lot, early word from Jeremy, over at Naijablog, is - it sucked. Well, NigerianFilms have the embed and so those of us Statesside can see the level of suckage!
The doc is a look into some of the capital flowing back into the country in the form of young talent, accents, cash, imitators, innovators and entrepreneurs mainly from the U.K, and in this case the focus is on those making a buck in the reality television and entertainment market.
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I enjoyed some of it, but I see what Jeremy means by the doc and its title sells us on ambitions it had no plans to reach for or even means to acheive, made all the more surprising because it was released by the beeb and had everyone thinking it was going to be "Welcome to Lagos" Pt.2 - The Stuff We Left Out. Watching it I felt whoever made this saw in the British born, buttered and schooled Walter (of Opobo), a witty, well spoken and affable young man with that balance of charm and ordinariness to be a great interlocutor or guide to lead British audiences through the alleyways of the Lagos middle-upper class. I'm guessing the problem however is, while a British audience or the producers might be taken by Walter's hybrid charms, for many Nigerians in Britain who have seen 2nd, 3rd generation Nigerian-British kids, fluid in both worlds, such hybrid individuals like Walter are a dime a dozen and a whole doc about such hybrids coming back to Nigeria and making waves needs to be so much more. According to Naijablog, the doc shoulda:
....focused on Nigerians returning to live in Lekki and working in either banking, telecoms or starting their own business. It might have dwelled on places such as Ikoyi Club and the Polo Club and their new members. It might then have asked the question of whether the diaspora was/is helping to develop Nigeria, at the same time as looking at the contrasts between lives back in the UK and new generator driven lives in Lagos. It might even have asked into the backgrounds of the elite and how many generations the privilege extends back. The theme might have developed into whether there is a two tier class system that has developed thanks to returnees lording it over the natives and to get perspectives from both sides.Meanwhile, back in Lagos, remember that debate back at ICT Works about 3 reasons why Kenyan developers are kicking Nigeria's ICT butt? Well, in the CNN report below, Christian Purefoy talks about a new generation of Nigerian geeks, who despite the country's power shortages have begun innovating around a population that's getting more and more comfortable and savvy with mobile technology: