WHY MANY NIGERIAN ARTISTES SHOOT THEIR MUSIC VIDEOS IN SOUTH-AFRICA.
South Africa is not just another African country; she is the most industrialized nation on the continent. South Africa’s industrialization did not start at the end of Apartheid; rather Apartheid was one of the numerous tools used to fuel that countries infrastructural growth. Cheap black labour was effectively utilized in the development of the rainbow nation. The white settlers of South Africa, in conjunction with their ancestral European nations did not relent in building relevant infrastructures inside their African settlement especially during Apartheid’s peak periods.
South Africa is better than Nigeria, not necessarily because she has white settlers and constant electricity (though she does) but because that country has a different spirit from Nigeria. South Africa like Nigeria has majority of her citizens (blacks) living in poverty and to top that, the rainbow nation has the highest crime rate and HIV rate in the world. But the South African ‘spirit’ has given her people the wisdom to propagate and promote only the good sides of their nation.
The South African government and her people never miss any opportunity to tell the world that their nation is the best place in the world, in spite of their numerous challenges. As for Nigeria; corrupt government politicians are the ones telling the world how good Nigeria is. While those in ‘opposition’ are always on hand to counter the government’s position and even add ‘jara’ to their interpretation of deplorable challenges in Nigeria just to buttress their point.
But this article is not about Nigeria’s woes or politics, IT’S ABOUT MUSIC, so let’s loosen up a bit.
I bet most fans and viewers of recent Nigerian music videos have noticed a seemingly multi-racial identity that several Nigerian music videos have now acquired. There seems to be a trend of our local artistes featuring multiracial casts or extras on their music videos, especially females.
Most of these music videos are shot in no other place than South Africa. It’s now common place to see a Nigerian music video set in exotic or rundown South African locations, the artiste cruising a right-hand drive car with white or mulatto women cascading the scene here and there. Nigerian artistes like Faze, Naeto C and P-square pioneered this rush to shoot music videos in SA. Before long, the Mo’Hits crew followed suit and now the likes of Flavour, KCEE and Bracket are addicted to this concept. But can we really blame them? Of course not.
The truth, which I eventually discovered, is that it makes more economic sense to shoot a music video in SA. Yes, we have Nigerian music video directors like Clarence Peters, Patrick Ellis and Aje that are doing great things on Nigerian locations but they don’t come in cheap. I don’t know exactly how much top-rated Nigerian directors charge to do music videos but I heard it’s in the millions. So, again, why South Africa?
Okay, here’s a gist I got from some of my industry friends based in South Africa; you all know about GODFATHER production? Most times we see their credits on many South African made-Nigerian music videos. The owner of Godfather productions is a Nigerian married to a South African lady and word has it that he does not even know what a camera looks like, let alone handle it. And so, how does a Godfather production shoot Nigerian music videos?
South Africa is home to many world class film institutions that train movie makers and directors from all over the world, including Nigeria. Our very own Clarence A Peters also trained in one of such institutions.
This is how it goes; a Nigerian artiste...say FLAVOUR decides to shoot a music video in South Africa and informs Godfather productions. The folks at Godfather contact some final year students in one of those SA film institute’s, inviting them to come use the production of a certain Naija music video as their project. These students, eager to impress their institutions and come out with good grades rush to embark on such music videos. The people at Godfather’s production after selecting the ‘lucky student(s)’ now decide to pay them a stipend, most times less than $1,000 (N150k) and these SA film students become over-joyed because they are somewhat being paid for doing their homework .
When it’s production time, it gets even easier; shooting a music video in SA is as easy as getting a permit and heading to your location anywhere in the city. There are no area boys or ‘omo onile’s’ to settle before shooting your stuff, and for the sexy multi-racial female models? South African women are more liberal and fun loving, most of them love appearing on music videos just for fun. With the popularity Nigerian music now enjoys in South Africa, these ladies sometimes struggle to feature on popular Naija artistes’ music videos.
So, that pretty White or Mulatto lady you see on some Nigerian music videos are just having a good time, at the end of shoot they are rewarded with a nice meal, lots of alcohol and taxi fare, full stop. This is in sharp contrast to engaging Nigerian video vixens, where the pretty ones demand higher fees and the ‘accidental’ mixed raced ones amongst them even make higher and ridiculous demands.
When next you are watching that Nigerian music video shot in South Africa, please just enjoy the music and don’t blame that Nigerian artiste for not shooting in Nigeria. It has nothing to do with status or not wanting a black Nigerian cast; it has everything to do with economics of scale.