What I Learnt From Hakkunde

This is not a review. Let me repeat, this is not a review.

With that said, let's get right to it. I saw Oluwaseyi Asurf's feature debut today. The film, Nigeria's first crowd funded movie is one I've been looking forward to for almost a year, comes from a filmmaker who's work I've enjoyed in the past. So clearly I went into the cinema with expectations. Expectations of spending a pleasant 2 hours in the cinema to complete my relaxation therapy today (expectation met BTW). What I didn't expect, and the reason for this post, was to leave the cinema hall feeling like I've learned something. Several somethings actually. So what did I learn?

1. I've been in Lagos way too long. Lagos is a fabulous city that has offered me a lot of opportunities, but clearly I've lived in Lagos way too long. There's a tendency among those of us who live and work here to think of the city (with all its frustrations, joy and annoyance) as a sort of microcosm of Nigeria. This understandable feeling is exacerbated if - like me - your only other point of reference is Abuja, Port Harcourt or any of Nigeria's other big cities. Hakkunde is one of the few Nigerian movies set outside the big cities that didn't recycle the usual "village" stereotypes (you'll still find a few but they're hidden under Frank Donga's comedic brilliance). So thank you Hakkunde for the reminder that I need to finally get to Kaduru Castle, among other place.

2. The second and probably more important thing I learned from Hakkunde is not a lesson so much a reminder. It's also the major reason for this post. My preferred term for myself and what I do is storytelling. I like to think I'm a storyteller telling tall tales using whatever medium I can. My people have always told tales, stories they got from their people or events they witnessed. In fact there's a story in my family about an Onye Ita (storyteller) who managed safe passage through both sides of a war because they both wanted their story told. The point, one which I'd forgotten until I saw Hakkunde, is that part of a storyteller's job is actually going to gather stories. The internet might have made it easier to gather stories from your comfort zone with the push of a button but you miss out on so much if you don't actually go looking for stories.

We talk a lot about telling our stories our way, by our selves, but in the hustle and bustle of day to day life it's easy to somehow slip and forget to build your database of stories. And if you think our stories are disappearing now,into wait till my grandma's generation isn't around anymore. So thank you Hakkunde for an enjoyable 2 hours, for a good movie but mostly a reminder of what my job really is. 

I won't forget.


I also learnt that I need to watch more Hausa movies, forget language barrier. The traditionally Hausa movie actors that formed the core of the supporting cast were brilliant.

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