Where Is The Nigerian Half Of The Yellow Sun?

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It’s official … the Nigerian government is afraid of History.

I take that back … the Nigerian government is afraid of history that makes them uncomfortable. How else do you explain the Half Of The Yellow Sun debacle. This is a movie written by a celebrated Nigerian, directed by a Nigerian, shot in Nigeria with Nigerian actors and actresses. Plus the movies is about an actual Nigerian event.

This movie that is so Nigerian … has been shown in America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, even United Arab Emirates where they don’t speak English as a first language. But when it comes to showing it in Nigeria, people start  trembling …. I mean the movie is so Nigerian that you expect it to be denied viewing in South-Africa over some flimsy yellow fever card excuse. But the only flimsy excuse is coming from our government…the Nigeria government.

The same government that a few days ago announced that they would be launching the first made in Nigeria car, which was meant to make us feel proud and patriotic … is the same government that is blocking a made in Nigeria movie from showing in cinemas. So now the only thing really Nigerian about the movie is the fact that it is a whole month late from its original April 24th release date!

At first we thought it was the naked sex scenes causing the delays, I mean for a country with so many churches, mosques and virgins that just happen to be the most sexually active people in the world one would understand the concern. I mean we don’t want young children watching the movie and thinking about sex at such a young age although it’s okay to marry them off. I get that, but a little editing and blurring can fix that. But wait that’s not the issue!

The main issue is that the movie is actually talking about Nigerian history that wait for this … actually happened!

There is a fear that the movie will open up emotions amongst Nigerians and could potentially add to the Muslim versus Christian and North versus South tensions. For a few seconds that makes sense until you realize that the book has already been in Nigeria for years.

That’s like banning the movie The Passion Of the Christ but letting the Bible circulate. That is like banning poronography on DSTV but allowing the magazines on our streets. The levels of stupidity is so high it confuses me … unless they believe that Nigerians don’t actually read, in which case they should check out the number of pirated copies of half of a yellow sun on the streets of Lagos alone!

The other thing is that even if the movie is eventually released, only a few Nigerians will actually go to the cinema to watch the movie. I mean its not like we have thousands of cinema’s in the country, just a handful. At the end of the day 90% (no research done) of the movie will likely be illegally watched on mobile phones and no matter how much censorship occurs nothing can stop the viral spread of the movie.

So the whole censorship stance is a delay in the inevitable, the movie will be watched one way or the other from USB to USB. But the harm will already be done. The producers would lose millions of dollars thus driving home a subtle message that movies that address the uncomfortable parts of our National history are not welcome in Nigeria!

So if ever you needed proof that the Nigerian government wants to forget about what happened in the civil war this is it. Now I know people will say this has nothing to do with the government, but trust me it does. It smells of government censorship all over and is symbolic of the government’s stance on biafra … silence.

Which is the same way we address domestic violence, rape, and corruption, with an air of silence as if it never happened, too afraid to ruffle the feathers in fears that the chicken might wake up, not realizing that many of the errors we are making today are simply because we have not faced our past and have ignored our history.

At the end of the day HOAYS suffers from not just being made in Nigeria but being too made in Nigeria… being too real and being too true.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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35 comments on “Where Is The Nigerian Half Of The Yellow Sun?

  1. mezi on said:

    what’s so annoying in Nigeria are countless to state. is it when d country is trying to move forward and some people are bent on de stabilizing it by any manner known to them. Is it when the so called indigenous rich elite prefer to invest in other countries rather than theirs making way for foreign investors take over strong holds in d nation. Is it when those who are privileged to get into major govt offices prefer to have a mentality of embezzling for their unknown future generation. Now after the whole mess have been committed they come out and use these two words “ensure” and “assure”. Hypocrites.

  2. Was really excited to hear about the release of the movie-half a yellow sun in cinemas and was anticipating to go watch it until the it announced that it had been banned.
    The best way to do well in the future is to make peace with ones past. What’s the essence of banning a movie that relates history?If its the sex scenes that could be edited but the movie should still be in circulation particularly in its home country…
    Well,my only compensation is the original copy of the book itself -half of a yellow sun .Would have felt better if it had been autographed.I’m enjoying reading it!
    Diddie latest post is #BecauseImHappy….My Profile

      • Because the government knows that most Nigerians don’t read, it made better sense to them to censor the movie. If most Nigerians read, there would have been no need taking this action because they would know that Nigerians read the book and old buried sentiments were not wiped up.

  3. Even though NFVCB could have strong reasons for delaying the release of HOAYS, they need to release a statement of some sort explaining why they have decided to delay/censor the movie before it shows in the Cinemas or distributed. Nigerians deserve to know why.

  4. Toonna on said:

    “…90% (no research done)…”

    Lol, Ofili haff vex! And rightfully so, so many things wrong at the same time. Revolution on all sector of the country of V for Vendatta proportions seems necessary.

    “People should not be afraid of their governments, government should be afraid of the people”

  5. David on said:

    Thanks for lending voice Mr Ofili. I think NFVCBs are indirectly insulting Nigerians. What different does it make when the book has be printed long ago. They could as well ban the book from stores.

  6. Sadly, the statement explaining the reason for the delay in the release of the movie might/will never come.

    How can we learn from history, if we keep avoiding it? How can we step into the future, if we don’t know where we’re coming from? And how can we know where we’re coming from, if everything abt the past is being buried or hidden?
    Tonye latest post is New Themes: Sidespied and ChronicleMy Profile

  7. The Nigerian situation is soo appalling. This is the only country where the civil war and its after effects although still manifesting is forgotten. The government acts like there was never a war and maybe hopes that it would be forgotten by the citizens while the issues that caused the war are not resolved.
    and therein lies the merry go round. Smh
    chidi latest post is The People who never act. ……My Profile

  8. Olumide on said:

    Hmm… The same kind of bury your head in the sand mentality that swept BH under the carpet and even outright denied chibok! till we got to where we are today. On a lighter note, maybe we should just start another hash tag! #showHOAYS!

  9. I personally will not go see the movie as it will definitely be a stepdown from awesome book. Plus there is the matter of the fact at least 60% of the main roles were not played by Nigerians. And arguably our best actress was given an insignificant role. Plus, it wasn’t exactly all shot in Nigeria. Some scenes were in South Africa. It very clearly was not shot for a Nigerian audience. The sponsors and amount of money invested will tell you that.

    But you are absolutely right about the attempt to hide history. Ludicrous at best, foolish at worst.

    • Ah Ireti, I see your point. But Chiewetel should count as Nigeria, at the end of the day it is the highest quality Nigerian centric movie ever made with such a large budget. Something we should be proud of. Something we should show.

    • thomas Crown on said:

      ireti ,

      i still hunger for your lips …………….my heart beats wildly every time i see your sexy eyes and hear your sexy voice

  10. Ayotunde on said:

    I am so happy u open up about not reading the book yet, i will gist u small about it, it’s fact and fiction, Ngozi bluntly mention d names of still living past Nigerian leaders, i agree with not releasing Hoays to cinemas, definitely not at this time, we need peace as priority, i hope pleasant things, i don’t judge the universe.

  11. Read d book…stirred something in me though…was waiting 4 d movie…almost wnt 4 d premier in Ibadan. the movie like everyother movie would be on d internet,in ds jet age who does’nt know or know someone who can use d internet?our Gov shld focus on D important tins,I kinda get wr dey r goin wt d ban…buh Come on…we wld still see it.

  12. I was mad when i heard about the ‘censorship’. So the NFVCB suddenly woke up after centuries of sex-laden movies in the industry? I don’t support sex-laced movies but that must be the lamest excuse to give. Ofcourse the Govt’s finger prints are all over it. Same with the removal of history from the education curriculum, same with the misinformation of kids through the distribution of a book ‘about Nigeria’ in Govt schools(in the F.C.T) that alters the stories of the civil war & some others. Etc etc.
    I won’t see the movie because i have read the book in all its leather bound-heartbreaking-finished-wood-smelling glory, hmm!
    Wouldnt wanna spoil that euphoric memory, i’m even scared of reading it a second time.
    Fine article Ofili!

    P.S: “He who controls the past, controls the future” -George Orwell [or so, can’t remember].

  13. And to even think that one of the officers at the censor board even traveled abroad to watch the premiering of the same movie..
    It’s sad! Why not let the children watch their own history, let them know that violence is not the answer.

  14. Sadly we actually need to watch HOAYS and hear more stories about the war, people who do not learn from their past mistakes are condemned to repeat it but how will we learn from them if we don’t know what they are?

  15. Kenechukwu Odera Nkwontah on said:

    At first i had a strong notion that the National Censors Board didnt allow the release of the video because brown envolope that didn’t get to them but learning that this film wouldn’t make it to cinemas because of the fear or reliving our history has made me so MAD!!!!

    The benefits of pushing this movie out to the Nigerian and International Community makes more sense than hiding it in the closet. It might even put the movie under the Oscar Radar like Hotel Rwanda did or like Timbuktu might do for Mali. Our Government has to learn to embrace our history whether good or bad. The cardinal lesson they should learn from our history is …..” dont replicate the silly mistakes we made in the past”.

  16. marla on said:

    Your only mistake, besides being ‘too lazy’ to ready the book, is thinking that we have had an opportunity to see it in the States. IF it indeed has been released it was without marketing or fan fair

  17. marla on said:

    Your only mistake, besides being ‘too lazy’ to read the book, is thinking that we have had an opportunity to see it in the States. IF it indeed has been released it was without marketing or fan fair. I have been waiting for and asking about the release of this movie for months now. The whole thing is a mystery.

  18. Temi on said:

    I still don’t get why the movie is still been delayed…personally I feel the excuses are flimsy…we will see it eventually

  19. Your post just boiled my blood again. I have waited fruitlessly after I had heard that they will release the movie a week after that official date in April. Silence does not, can not remove the past… The movie and the book only uses the plot of the Nigerian civil war to tell a story.

    Then again do you think Nigerians will be interested in the lessons of that time? I mean the hype of the movie is more likely to end in just hype than in chaos. We have a tendency to get distracted after the fanfare and entertainment. As you say, stupidity seems to be too numerous to cure. They should release this movie already sha. That’s my own

  20. Manny on said:

    Hmmm I consider myself to be a pretty liberal person and on a normal day, I detest most government agencies in Nigeria. However, with regards to this movie, I’ve found myself supporting the censor board’s decision, even though I think they could do a better job of informing the public of their reasons.
    Now, this is my opinion and I’m entitled to one so Ofili, don’t get all snarky with me.
    I’ve been alarmed at the tribal sentiments being expressed by Nigerians in recent times, especially since the onset of the Chibok tragedy. On Facebook, Twitter, IG, blogs, dinner tables etc, people have been overly sensitive and ready to tear each other apart over tribal/ethnic issues. Now, I as a yoruba know that the Igbos were done bad before and during the war and people need to know that and let it inform how we relate with each other and how we build a cohesive future. But sincerely, I don’t think this is the right time unless we want to fuel calls for seceding and all that. That is my opinion and I’m aware it might not be a popular one.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      It is okay to have a differing opinion. You might have a point, but it gets clogged up because the board is yet to come out and state it explicitly, they have just been kind of quiet and vague.

      Also there is never going to be a perfect time to release the movie. Boko haram will not end this year or next year, there will always be issues in Nigeria. If not MEND then something else. Show the movie and get it over with. The movie at the end of the day will have less of an impact than the book.

  21. It will be such a great idea if you did your research properly before writing such a piece. There’s no truth in what you have written as you even got your basics wrong. Did you know that HOAYS never waited to get feedback from the nfVCB before going ahead to pix a box office release date and advertising for people to buy tickets? On what basis do you sell your tickets and to whom when you have not gotten an advisory on the films rating. Is the film an 18 or a PG or wat? Did you know they were asked to expnge but of cos, the producers had not the cash to go back and re-edit? I know the NFVCB does have it’s own flaws but I am sorry to say that your article is so one sided, has no depth and reflects the general attitude if the Nigerian youth when ever he gets a response or feedback that don’t suit him, it always has to be the government, or the very stupid government workers who cannot do their jobs well or better still, everybody suddenly becomes a blockhead except for you. Let us be careful. You have a platform here that can be used to educate people. Don’t tell us what the public option is, do your homework and give us some news; something new, something we have not heard about this story.

  22. EkenennaR on said:

    One more reason for Chiwetel Ejiofor to hate Nigeria. @ XD: you sound like venom. You could have given the right info as a comment & end it there. Geez! Besides, Ofili never said he was the only one not stupid. You sound like the Nigerian government… Typical… Defensive and always with a story to prove its defense. Truth: they shouldn’t have placed a ban whatsoever. Simple. Well, anyone who hasn’t read the book, please do.
    Enjoy the story, recall the war and cos it’s our own who used the pen, we can all learn…especially the ‘stupid’ government, and do the right thing for this country’s progress.
    Recall Madiba, see where South Africa is today.
    God bless you Ofili…keep speaking cos I laugh and then think.

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