Africa will party in Nigeria tonight

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Africa will tonight descend on Yenegoa in the rapidly-growing state of Bayelsa in Nigeria. The occasion is the annual African Movie Academy Awards (Amaa).

Now in their fifth year, the awards continue to pursue the values that have set them apart from other similar gatherings. The awards encourage pride in Africans and persist in telling our stories in a way only Africans can. They are intent in preserving the age-old tradition of story-telling, albeit this time around on celluloid.

We live in a global village so we need to keep abreast with technological advancements while also hoisting the flag high for Africa.

Filmmakers from across Africa will rub shoulders and listen to the narratives of each other's stories. These rare opportunities highlight the many traits we share, the common umbilical cord and the drumbeat that beat in our hearts and generate that song of ubuntu among us. The filmmakers, actors, crew, wardrobe, make-up, sound and special effects people will sit down for a change and be pampered instead of running after irate industry stakeholders. It's their moment of glory as the Amaa separate the boys from the men and the girls from the women.

It's the night of glittering stars, men and women rapidly bridging the gap between Nollywood and Hollywood. Over and over again, the fact that we are finally looking inward as Africans is being hailed as integral to the success of Nollywood.

Interestingly, South Africa's showing is gaining momentum, though it still leaves a lot to be desired. Practitioners in our beautiful land should hang their heads in shame because most of the films going out to international platforms, although they purport to be African, are still told by white compatriots. When do we then begin to level the playing fields? Perhaps the Amaa will prick our consciences enough for us to gauge where we are as we map the way forward.

Tonight will kick off the biggest film party with a charity ball while the movie awards will take place on Saturday night.