By Dakwom Makpring Longgul:
Who is Willy Brandt? Nollywood storyline in Germany.
What is a story? And how is a story generated for films? In this small piece I will try to speculate many things, but as you read this make sure your eyes and mind take you to the last full stop, why? because this is not a story but an experience that needs to be narrated, it is the story of how good people exist in Germany and Nigeria, take this as the prologue.
Scene-one: How we see people on Cinema and Video Screen
Brought up in a small middle-class urban settlement in Tudun-Wada area of Jos North, Plateau State in Central Nigeria, West Africa. Cinema was a “wishful thought” we never had the freedom and the opportunity to see and feel Cinema. In our childhood days, I remember Jos basically had the Rex Scala, Kwararafa, New Era and Ambassador Cinemas but the one close to me is the Kwarafa in the heart of Jos, close to the Friday mosque in Terminus Market. After trekking a long distance, I was not permitted to enter the Cenima, because I don’t even have the money, but I was willing to clean or do anything just to have a feel of what the Cinema looked like. Well not bad after all, I stood at the door and enjoyed watching the film posters, over time, I visited the Cinema over and over again that I can’t remember the times just to catch a view of the posters, this will be part of my story of Film cinema- even privilege is in levels, at least I had the opportunity to see the film posters and money was put to shame…
In the second Scene, there was the video invention and some of our neighbours had acquired this massive TV and video player, in any situation, we are only allowed to enter the parlour and seat on the floor if we had evidence that we took a good bath, but if not, we stay and hang around the window but we never complain, at least we can hear the sound and also see the picture – this is when we begin to see how the Indians lovers danced on the street of Mumbai, a street full of beautiful ladies that can sing for love, we see the Chinese, Koreans and the Japanese but we cannot separate who is who in terms of their country we learn taekwondo and we want to be like Bruce Lee and Jet Lee. We also see heavy machine guns and explosives ( we call them bums) in American Movies, oh America!! a mighty country that likes to fight with guns to kill many but we never saw them in love stories like in Indians and in all these movies we only saw the outside world but not us.
Thanks to the ingenuity of the Igbos- a major ethnic group in eastern Nigeria, we now have a story close to us, the Nollywood story in this phase we see how our fellow brothers in eastern Nigeria visit the Native doctors’ shrine in search of fortunes and mass wealth. We sympathise with the women and the children in the stories whose fathers sacrificed for rituals but we still hope that Jesus and the Praying reverend father in white clothes will invoke the Jesus spirit and the holy spirit to not only expose ritual men but kill them too, in many frames of interpretation this is the Nigerian story. We continually align with the oppressed people in these stories, some of how the stepmother became inhuman and extremely wicked to her stepson whom she also killed the mother in order to occupy the house and dominate the father’s decision in the family. Not so long, we began to watch Hausa stories in “Angwan Hausawa” ( a small Hausa Muslim-dominated space in the Tudun Wada area, Jos, North) in this pattern of the storyline we see the Hausa people in a typically Indian-fashioned storyline, but this time, they Speak Hausa and they are blacks from Kano and other parts of the North. Most of these Video films are shot in locations around Jos. currently, the film culture is fast evolving with virtually every ethnic group making films in their respective mother tongue, why? Because knowledge and the state have a cordial relationship- let’s frame it better in a Foucauldian sense (Paul-Michel Foucault-philosophy) “POWER- KNOWLEDGE, KNOWLEDGE-POWER”
Apologies for the long scene above, now that I brought in the concept of power to my engagement method, I will be more specific as we are now in the climax of this storyline, Germany called by outsiders and Deutschland call insiders was not visible in our cinema experience in Africa, Nigeria, but it has a picture in our minds as young history students of African origin. We remember Germany, with the name “ BERLIN CONFERENCE of 1884” Indeed we learn that at the request of Portugal, German chancellor Otto von Bismark called together the major western powers of the world to negotiate questions and end confusion over the control of Africa. This was the story in my little mind but of course, nothing lasts forever but memories keep these records and memories never die, with these records I have developed what Miranda FRICKER calls testimonial injustice- I see Germany in this sense, in a single story format, a story of the famous big hall in Berlin. However, I may be reframing the question now with another experience. Apart from the Berlin conference.
By the way, who was Willy Brandt? Do you know?
“By the way, who was Willy Brandt? Do you know?” is not just a title here but an email conversation between the writer of this article and his landlady (so-called in Nigerian English & in Germany or Western same as “Host”) Claudia Römer, sent this email on the 20th of July,2023 at 14:57 Pm and the direct quotation of the email reads:
Dear 3 wonderful DAAD students,
Tomorrow is a great day with Mr.Flavour in concert!! It’s a good time to celebrate your successful participation in the DAAD summer term program. Congratulations to you!
So please pass the message also to Nansat and enjoy the concert. A PDF of Tickets is attached, plus there is a printout on the big table in Amselweg.
The hall is a bit outside Frankfurt, in Mühlheim (S9, after Offenbach) , get off at Mühlheim Bahnhof, then walk or take a bus to Willy-Brandt-Halle.
By the way, who was Willy Brandt?
Do you know?
A little about Claudia Romer, the “Nigerian students’ mother” and “Landlady”, she once told us a story of how she began to accommodate students of the DAAD Film Culture students on mobility Just by reading online about a DAAD Scholarship scheme that will bring three students to the prestigious Goethe University of Frankfurt- Germany or what many in the Media school call the famous “Frankfurt School” home to many great Scholars like the famous Habermas in Professor. Illah’s class. Claudia will make a decision to accommodate these benefiting students year after year, cumulatively about three sets of students of Nigerian origin have occupied Claudia’s home in total let’s say six students and the experience is always nice and different. She also has a different perspective about the students and the different parts of Nigeria, she said Ogundiran told her about the story of Nigeria’s famous writer, Wole Soyinka but that is not all, Claudia Romer now writes about Nigeria and Nollywood in a German local News Paper, the current writing was the title: The truth: Unterliederbach meets Nollywood in this article, Claudia just like I and my speculation about Cinema and film Culture in Nigeria write quote:
“… you can find out in the first three minutes of a conversation if someone is from Lagos. That’s cool. But not as nice and cool as in Jos, the third largest city, headquarters of the Nigerian Film Corporation. The two students work there when they are not studying film culture for a semester at Frankfurt University.”
I find this similar to my experience and story about the Nigerian film culture, in fact, I do not intend to argue with Claudia on her submission above but marvelled at how we are placed in this world not so much in terms of the political Race or religion but in context of our shared humanity, yes, I admit I have bias thinking about Germany and the colonial history of Africa, but, Germany offered me an opportunity to reframe my thinking about the new Germany that is now playing an active part in contribution to our shared humanity because living under the same roof with Claudia Romer and Micheal her husband, we live like a family. She is concerned about our Health, Studies, and Families in Nigeria and about our dear country- Nigeria. Recently, Claudia was almost in tears when she learned about the Fulani bandits killing in Mangu, Plateau State, Nigeria. She was worried because one of the students that stayed with her for some years was affected with many of his family members killed. She will always remember him and try to ask me more questions about the state of the Fulani Bandits and the killings of innocent farmers in the Plateau State countryside.
Meeting Claudia was “an end to a means”, part of the story may be not complete but it’s all related to our famous Nollywood storyline in Germany.
The critical mind thinks that the Nigerian State is perpetually growing laissez-faire leadership in every political dispensation, a government style that always thinks everything should be privately owned and supervised by the state. Since the story of the Structural adjustment programme (SAP) by Ibrahim Babangida’s Regime, much democratic leadership have come to “copy and paste” if the government is not removing the subsidy of Petrol, it is introducing an Education loan with a Bank or introducing Neo-Liberal policies that cannot fit into their system. The government wants to know everything happening so they will introduce payment platforms in the Universities and undermine the global autonomy of the Universities in Nigeria, while they afford UK and USA schools for their children. As of the time of this write-up, the Government is investigating the same payment platform it introduced in the Universities, today, University lecturers have had eight months of withheld salaries since President Mohammadu Buhari’s regime because ASUU, (Nigerian University Lecturers Union) embark on strike to demand their right, while many are leaving the system, many cannot afford to pay their bills, this is the Nigerian system, a system that will soon bury our Universities, and this is the same approach to all sectors: Health and others but for the resilient “Naija spirits” citizens and the working class, like the curious Didi Cheeka whose curiosity to see history in the light of film culture, will lead to the restoration of the famous Film of Shaihu Umar and subsequently the DAAD scholarship to Nigerian students at the prestigious University of Jos and the Nations Famous, Film Institute ( The Nigerian Film Institute, Jos).
Again, While we tell the story of Nollywood with its decentralised plot structure, with good and bad characters, Goethe University will forever be remembered for contributing to Nigeria’s film culture and achieving history and Scholarship, Here, the erudite Professor Venzenz Hediger also shares his hopes in Nigeria famous Nollywood, he will always talk with a clear insight and hindsight about Nigeria’s film Culture and even with a deeper look at its sociology and politics, of course, that is the hallmark of scholarship.
Who is Willy Brandt
To this end, I found out who Willy Brandt is and why a train station in Frankfurt is named after him. Simply put, he was a German politician and statesman who was the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1964 to 1987 and served as the chancellor of West Germany from 1969 to 1974. But in this context, I will like the reader to see him thus:
In 1971, Brandt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in improving relations with East Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union. Brandt negotiated a peace treaty with Poland, and agreements on the boundaries between the two countries, signifying the official and long-delayed end of World War II.
I never saw Brandt, the politician but Claudia Romer, represents his values, bridging the gaps in these two unequal countries and believing in the shared humanity of people not minding political theories of division that set the “Global North” against the “Global South” she is my Nobel prize recipient because I have seen a German who never was part of the famous Berlin popular European powers town hall meeting to divide Africa, we are different in the colour of our skins but connected through the mystery of humanity and humanism.
While this is like an appreciation of all the good things she said about Africa, Nigeria and Nigeria’s Nollywood, she represents “Brandtian” spirit of a bridge that connects people together, that reshape our single testimonials about a nation and its people, that represent the doggedness of many who are working to alter the narration of humanity for good, that though, you do not share same Religion, Ethnicity and Race you can stay together in peace and harmony. For if the DAAD programme changes the story of Nigeria’s film culture, while great Names like Vinzenz Hediger, Dedi Cheeka, Prof. Ishaya Tanko, Prof. Tor. Iorpuu, Prof. Rahila Gowan, Dr. Nancy King, Dr. Leye King, Mr. Astone DanJuma, Dr, Dan Ella,and host of other personalities including affiliated institutions like the Great, Goethe University, Frankfurt,University of Jos-Nigeria, Department of Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos, The Nigerian film Corporation (NFC), National Film Institute (NFI) etcetera will be mention in the history books our dear Willy Brandt personified in the body of Claudia Romer will stand tall saying we are all in this life’s production of Humanity, let us continue to tell the Nollywood storyline from Unterliederbach to the world so different but connected, a world at war but seeks peace, a world seperated but hopes lingers on, let us belive that it can be done by individuals ( character who are vehicle of the Film story) for we can contribute to global peace and love, for in this Nigeria and Germany are one
Written by Comrade Dakwom Longgul in Appreciation to Claudia Romer
Longgul is a Citizen Reporter (Street Reporter in Jos, Plateau State)
He is a Mentee under the Professorial Chair Of J.S Illah at the Univerity Of Jos.
one of the 2023 DAAD summer Semester Award Scholership recipient for M.A Film Culture and Achieving Programme in Germany, and stays
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