BETWEEN CULTURE AND POLITICS IN NIGERIA: POWER, IDENTITY AND DEMOCRATIC REFLECTIONS IN TUNDE KELANI’S FILMS

Abiodun Olayiwola

Abstract

Tunde Kelani is, unarguably, one of the most dominant and resonant voices in the Nigerian film industry. His films pungently reflect an in-depth understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the diverse experiences of culture, arts and politics, religion and development issues that define Nigeria as a nation. Significantly, he is a passionate and committed artist whose works engage critical issues that espouse the African experience at the arena of politics as the continent contends with all the vestiges of slavery and colonization. Employing the contextual and critical methods of scholarly enquiry, this paper interrogates the issues of politics, power-play and ideo-social identity in contemporary Nigeria through a close viewing/reading of Tunde Kelani’s Saworo Ide, Agogo Eewo and Arugba. These films are investigated as direct and explicit portraitures of the Nigerian experience in the 20thCentury and beyond. Using Yoruba sub-group as a template, the films undertake a deconstruction of Nigerian political landscape through a critical re-reading of its history and suggest a cultural solution to the lingering political dilemmas in the nation.

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