Perhaps the two most memorable lessons from your history class as a Nigerian child are that the Scottish explorer Mungo Park discovered the River Niger and the amalgamation of the north and south by Lord Frederick Lugard in 1914. But “The Journey of an African Colony: The Making of Nigeria” will make you question what you learnt about Nigeria in your history class.
Nigerian legal practitioner and historian Olasupo Shasore takes us on a journey of the making of Nigeria and delivers a compelling narrative that challenges some previously held beliefs about the celebrated colonialist, Lord Lugard. The docu-series beautifully written and presented by Shasore is based on his books “A Platter of Gold: Making Nigeria” and “Possessed: A History of Law & Justice in the Crown Colony of Lagos.” The docu-series is perhaps the most awe-inspiring Nigerian content streaming on Netflix currently.
Shasore starts right at the beginning with slave trade in the region through colonislism and independence in 1960. He argues that the impact of the slavery trade on Nigeria is underrated stating that over four million slaves were taken to the west by slave traders. He goes on to present an alternative narrative to certain historic events and the possible cause of tribalism in modern Nigeria. Shasore makes a case for ordinary Nigerians like the women of the 1929 “Aba Women’s Riot” to be celebrated.
Shasore’s docu-series was released in 2018 and although it aired on Channels TV in Nigeria, not many Nigerians got to see it. “The Journey of an African Colony: The Making of Nigeria” premiered on Netflix in month, giving more Nigerians the opportunity to see it whilst also opening it up to an international audience.
Regrettably, after 60 years of celebrating independence and what is now referred to as the ‘Naija spirit,’ this docu-series will make you ask if Nigerians should be ‘proud of the name Nigeria.’ It is saddening to learn of the Berlin Conference of 1884 during which the African continent was carved like plots of land amongst European nations despite the devastation of slave trade. Yet, learning the root of the name Nigeria was the real moment of truth.
“The Journey of an African Colony: The Making of Nigeria” is directed by BB Sasore of Nemsia Studios famed for the feature films “God Calling” and “Banana Island Ghost.” Sasore is one director who in a short time has made a name for himself for the quality of his productions. Yet again, he has done a brilliant job with this docu-series. He goes to great lengths to deliver a captivating and well-paced docu-series, filming from a London library to Ilorin to the hinterlands of Iva Valley, in a moving car, a train and rickshaw, Keke.
At seven episodes of roughly 30-minutes each, this docu-series is absolutely binge-worthy. Once you start, you just want to know more. If you think docu-series are boring, think again because “The Journey of an African Colony: The Making of Nigeria” certainly isn’t.