Audience pleasure and Nollywood popularity in Uganda: An assessment | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1754-9221
  • E-ISSN: 1754-923X



Since the mid 1990s, Nigerian movies have become part of the entertainment media across Africa and beyond. In this article I assess the popularity of Nigerian movies as reflected in the weekly TV programming in Uganda, and in recent years, its dominance in ‘video halls’. Nollywood’s popularity has continued despite competing TV serials and soaps from Latin America, the Philippines and Hollywood. The comparative popularity of this genre, in the context of Uganda, is due to the interventions of the video jockeys (VJs), who appropriate and ‘rewrite’ the films as they simultaneously translate them into local languages for the benefit of non-English-speaking audiences in specific contexts of viewing the movies. As I analyse the reasons for the continued longevity and popularity of Nollywood, I focus on the demographic features of the audiences. Focus group discussions and keynote interviews were used to understand the popularity patterns among the various social groups. Participant observation was also crucial in my interpretation of audience viewing strategies. Notwithstanding competition from other genres, Nigerian movies continue to strike a strong cord with Ugandan audiences, especially among the lower income brackets. These committed audiences have appropriated and ‘owned’ Nollywood enough to challenge it to get better to ensure their continued adherence to it. I use, in synergy, the ‘active audience’ idea espoused in Uses and Gratifications theory, Alessandro Jedlowski’s concept of Nollywood as a dynamic hybrid between cinema and television and Joseph Straubhaar’s idea of cultural proximity as one of the principles guiding audience’s preference of media.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Nollywood; pleasure; popularity; Ugandan audiences; video halls; video jockeys
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