African DH

The African DH program at KU focuses on the intersection of traditional humanistic inquiry in Africa and digital media. We bring together people and projects who examine this important connection, highlighting the ways in which African cultural producers incorporate digital technologies and methods into their work, while exploring on how African writers and critics experiment with digital media hardware and software more generally.

Digital Nollywood is an ongoing, experimental digital project I started in 2019. Interested in arresting the ontological disappearance of Nollywood’s material ‘texts,’ I thought I would build on the enormous technological developments of recent decades to explore the way in which we ‘do history’ and explore popular culture in Africa. As digital technologies create new possibilities for the preservation and presentation of historical and archival materials, Digital Nollywood aims to be a scholarly digital project that enables the preservation and exhibition of Nollywood film posters. The historical documentation of these visual cultural forms adds to the huge scholarship on Nollywood, while also serving to preserve the material-cultural records of film that may otherwise be lost forever because their significance as sources of historical knowledge is not often recognized.

The goal of Digital Nollywood is the reconstruction of the history of Nollywood through a significant aspect of its production that is rarely discussed in the scholarly community on Postcolonial film and cinema. As the most popular film industry in Africa and the African Diaspora, Nollywood has served as an important platform for telling the African story, highlighting how the cultural industry can embody the values, meanings and, identities of groups and communities. A digital archive of film posters on Nollywood enables more historical documentation and academic research on the film medium in Nigeria. As an open-source digital archive with collections and exhibitions of Nigerian movie posters, the project could be beneficial to scholars and students interested in writing the history of video-film in Nigeria. Our primary mode of collecting film poster images is by photographing posters we find in public spaces and institutions such as the film censors board in Nigeria. We collect and curate these digital images and, where possible, publish the original weblinks to such websites. We have recently received a large dataset of film posters along with important metadata from one of the major film directors in Nigeria.

Ọ̀rọ̀ láti ẹnu àwọn àgbà òṣèré Yorùbá is an indigenous-language DH project that stems from Digital Nollywood and presents audio and video interviews conducted with senior veterans in the Yorùbá film industry in Nigeria.