Etymology of NOLLYWOOD

The origin of the term “Nollywood” remains unclear; Jonathan Haynes traced the earliest usage of the word to a 2002 article by Matt Steinglass in The New York Times, where it was used to describe Nigerian cinema.[2][3] The term continue to be used in the media to refer to the Nigerian film industry, with its definition later believed to be a portmanteau of the words “Nigeria” and “Hollywood“, the American major film hub.[4][5][6][7]

Definition of which films are considered Nollywood has always been a subject of debate. Alex Eyengho defined Nollywood as “the totality of activities taking place in the Nigerian film industry, be it in English, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Itsekiri, Edo, Efik, Ijaw, Urhobo or any other of the over 300 Nigerian languages“. He further stated that “the historical trajectory of Nollywood started since the pre and post independent Nigeria, with the theatrical (stage) and cinematic (celluloid)) efforts of the likes of Chief Hubert Ogunde, Chief Amata, Baba Sala, Ade Love, Eddie Ugboma and a few others”.[5]

Over the years the term Nollywood has also been used to refer to other affiliate film industries, such as the Ghanaian English-language cinema, whose films are usually co-produced with Nigeria and/or distributed by Nigerian companies. The term has also been used for Nigerian/African diaspora films considered to be affiliated with Nigeria or made specifically to capture the Nigerian audience.[2][3] There is no clear definition on how “Nigerian” a film has to be in order to be referred to as Nollywood.

Some stakeholders have constantly expressed their disagreement over the term; giving reasons such as the fact that term was coined by a foreigner, as such another form of Imperialism. It has also been argued that the term is an imitation of what was already in existence (Hollywood and Bollywood) rather than an identity in itself, that is original and uniquely Africa