Terror thrillers and tradition: a postcolonial reading of selected African cinema

  • Victor Osae Ihidero


Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia are few of the countries in Africa faced with terrorism and militancy. The rise and expansion of terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Niger-Delta Volunteer Force, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and recently, the Avengers, has risen to vent terror on the peoples of Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia. Whilst each of these countries has its own distinct challenges that led to the formation of such terrorist groups, the emergence of terrorism in Nigeria remains complex. One of the ways an explicit explanation has been given to these complexes in Nigeria is through thriller fiction. Nollywood as well as other film industries in Africa has produced several thriller fictions that attempt to explicate the reasons behind militancy and terrorism in Africa. October 1 and Eye in the Sky are two examples of African cinema that have attempted to film the recent rise of terrorism in Nigeria and Kenya. Within the lens of October 1, terrorism in Nigeria, and by extension Africa, is rooted on ethnic and religious divide fuelled by external contact with other cultures; in this case, the culture of imperial England. This study, using the premise of postcolonial reading, examined Kunle Afolayan's award winning terror thriller, October 1 and attempted to bring out the powercultural interplay that bred terrorism in Nigeria. The study found out that the ideology of Boko Haram ("Western education is a sin") terrorist group, as bad as it seems, is a postcolonial stance against [neo]colonialism. However, the ideology lost its steam because it failed to reassert the Nigerian humanity or show any humanist tendencies to reclaiming the African glorious past.

Keywords: Terror thriller, Traditionality, African cinema, Postcoloniality, Terrorism


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2449-1179
print ISSN: 2006-1838