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Eight Most Infamous Nollywood Stereotypes

In this month’s edition of things Nollywood is infamous for, the spotlight is on stereotypes.
November 12, 2023
8:23 pm
The Johnsons features Hausa gateman

You’d find some of the most notorious stereotypes in Nollywood, either depicting a group of people as they aren’t or giving some kind of legitimacy to already growing misconceptions.


In this article, we will delve into eight of the most infamous stereotypes in Nollywood.


It’s important that we greet these examples with as many laughs as frowns because while stereotypes can be sometimes comical, they often reinforce preconceived notions and biases about certain demographics, further leading to discrimination and, more often than not, injustice. Thus, a more nuanced look by our audience is much appreciated.


That being said…


A Hausa person must always man the gate-and his name must be Musa!

Nollywood has painted men from the Hausa tribe to be only good at one thing: guarding a gate. The name “Musa” has become synonymous with the fine art of gatekeeping. And it doesn’t stop there. They also bring a strong accent and acts of folly with them, making this the most heavily stereotyped role in Nollywood as dramatized, for instance, in “The Johnsons.”


Heart of Princess dramatizes telltale signs of pregnancy

Young ladies vomiting automatically means pregnancy

While there’s some scientific truth to it, Nollywood has made it a mainstay that a woman who conceives must puke as we find in “Heart of Princess.” And not just any woman, single young ladies because, somehow, married women are spared this phenomenon. Also don’t forget that shortly after throwing up, a maternal figure follows closely behind and turns to Ben Carson overnight, diagnosing pregnancy on the spot with pinpoint accuracy. At least they’re usually right.


Fear the mother inlaw in Upside Down

The Mother-in-law curse

Perhaps perfected by acts like Patience Ozokwor with a hallmark performance in “Upside Down,” the wicked mother-in-law is a classic from the Nollywood playbook.


As a mother-in-law, it’s your job to turn down a marriage especially if your son’s wife has failed to produce a child for him. If she has, but only females, that’s still a no for you. You want male grandchildren. And fast.


This has negatively affected the position of a mother-in-law in a family. One needs only to look at Patience Ozokwor in mother-in-law roles to understand why some Nigerian girls prefer guys with little to no ties with their mothers.


There must always be a village drunk. And he shows up at the ‘oddest’ of hours

What’s a Nigerian village without that one drunk who goes about setting an example of why alcohol is bad for your health?


Showing up at odd places and hours in the midst of conversations is his raison d’être and “Taboo” didn’t think that this behavior should be a taboo.


Princes marrying maids

Princes always fall in love with one of the maids

It may not be as severe as other examples in this list but, in Nollywood, the king’s son ends up marrying one of the palace maids. It’s Nollywood’s toned-down attempt at a “Disney princess” narrative, and this is not far-fetched when you watch “Palace Maid.”


As expected, his parents and betrothed – who somehow always has an appalling behavior –would object to his decision with all their might but, ultimately, they all succumb to the power of love. Wealth and poverty are like magnets whenever it is a royal film.


Any poisonous substance will definitely be white in color

It’s ironic how the substance some evildoers use to carry out their deadly affairs comes in immaculate white, creating a stark contrast between its deadly intent and its pure appearance.


It’s virtually impossible to name any Nollywood movie that includes poisoning another’s meal where the deadly allure isn’t pristine white. The message seems to be, “If ain’t white, it don’t work.” This picture-perfect symbolism is in “The Wedding Picture.”


Villains running mad in End of the Wicked

Diabolic folk always run mad at the end

Villains always get what they deserve one way or the other in literature and film. But Nollywood has a specific type of punishment for them: mental derailment, otherwise known as madness, which “End of the Wicked” exemplifies.


It’s almost as if Nollywood’s Karma has run out of penalties.


Doctor Adamu and his stethoscope

The most versatile weapon in the world is…a stethoscope

While it’s true that a Doctor’s most recognizable instrument is his stethoscope, to Nollywood it’s his ONLY tool, and this device is copiously on display in “Doctor Adamu.”


You can have COVID-19, diabetes, or even cancer and all the doctor has to do is place his magic tube under your left breast (where your heart is located) and the ailment instantly confesses.


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