Is It Good or Is It Just Familiar?

Is It Good or Is It Just Familiar?

Do you know what bad acting is? Bad acting is what they have in Nigerian movies. I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but it’s just the truth.


It should be a crime against humanity for anyone to air those movies anywhere. On top of the atrocious acting, you have poorly written storylines, sound quality that will make your ears feel assaulted, and editing that even an amateur editor should be ashamed of.


And for some reason, the homeboys in Nigeria feel the need to have a song for every single scene in their movies, all the way from “It’s 8:00 o’clock and we’re pounding yams” to “Look at me I’m buying a tomato now.” The singing is decent at least. I’ll give them that.


But despite how terrible these movies are, they’re still very popular all over Africa. You’d find some auntie watching them in Tanzania, just as you would find and uncle right here in Namibia laughing along to these abominations. They are so popular that everyone now refers to them simply as “African movies.” One of the most interesting phenomena I have ever scene!


Time and time again, I would be sitting with friends and family in the TV room, watching an Oscar-worthy American movie, Hunger Games or something, then someone would go, “Aiii man! What things are things?! Me I don’t like these things. Put an African movie, man!” (Yes, they would say it exactly like that). And then immediately when you change the channel to Africa Magic, everyone starts smiling again, and commenting on every scene, “Yes, that girl is very bad! I saw her in the other movie. She’s very bad. Oh, this one is the priest. I remember. My sister told me. She watched his other movie.”


Wonders shall never end.


Why though? That’s what I’ve been asking myself. Why would they be so crazy about movies that are so obviously bad?


But then I saw this kind of behavior in myself too. When I was in America — for the two seconds that I was there — I noticed that I didn’t like the “lush green” landscapes. I missed Namibia with its dry savannas and sparse vegetation. I didn’t like the tall trees they had everywhere. I missed my stumpy thorny ones here. I missed the dry heat and the emptiness, the desert-like climate.


namibian landscape, good or familiar



Strange, isn’t it? You would think I would automatically like the green forests bustling with life but… Sorry America. I didn’t.


Could it be that we like and prefer things because they’re familiar and not necessarily because they’re good?


I think the reason so many people like those African movies is because they’re familiar and therefore relatable. They look at the actors as if they could be the neighbors next door. The surroundings are similar to what they see everydayย around them. And the concepts shown in these movies — the outrageous myths, the gossiping, and the pre-Ashley Madison fool-around-with-the-servants types of infidelities — those are things that can relate to because they experience them in their own lives.


And maybe the Namibian landscapes seem dreadfully lifeless to visitors, but for someone like me who grew up here, they are familiar. That’s why I prefer them.


Objectively, The Hunger Games is better than Mr Ibu, but to my African homegirls, Mr Ibu is more familiar. And therefore preferred.


Isn’t it the same thing that happens when girls marry guys that are similar to their dads? He could be the biggest d-bag in town. He could have an ego bigger than Kanye West’s. But if he reminds a girl of the man that cradled her in his arms for years, she would gravitate towards him.


What about those women that go back to their abusive husbands? The guy is obviously horrible, but being with him is so familiar that she returns even after barely managing to escape.ย She prefers the familiarity of life with him than without.


And could it be that some people find pain and suffering just so familiar that they subconsciously sabotage all their chances of getting out of their suffering? ย I have a cousin who is unemployed and really struggling to raise her three children as a single mother, but she has managed to ruin countless opportunities, from myself and my dad, to get out of her poverty. I’ve come to just accept that she’s reached the point of no return in her life. She’s just so comfortable with her suffering that even though she constantly asks for help, she doesn’t really want to be out of it all.


Familiarity certainly seems to have more impact on our choices than we might think.


Is pizza really better than Indian roti or is it just more familiar? Is Kim Kardashian really prettier that those Masai girls with the exaggerated earring and nose ring holes (*you should probably not Google that*) or is her face just more familiar?


Some food for thought.


As always,


Cheers to life!




48 thoughts on “Is It Good or Is It Just Familiar?”

    • Haha! We all do it, Katrina. We’re all guilty of sticking to our comfort zones. Thanks for reading.

  • I think familiarity is a huge factor in what people like. It’s probably why I love so many fantasy movies, no matter how good they actually are… Or why I keep going back to the Final Fantasy and Silent Hill games… Or even why I keep listening to music from my teenage years…

    • Yeah, and we often don’t realize it. But if you begin to see the pattern, like you’re doing, it might just make you more self-aware. Thanks for stopping by, Gareth!

  • This is an interesting post, you have me thinking now – do I like things because I really do or if it is just because they are familiar and what I am more used to.

  • Gosh this is so interesting and really made me think! I think you are right, perhaps we are drawn to the familiar! I suppose it’s like having a “type” in men, or women, we are drawn to what we know, but sometimes someone who is totally not what we are looking for is the right one for us! I know he was for me!

    • Yes, sometimes the unfamiliar is what is best for us, but we don’t notice it because we’re too focused on the familiar. I’m glad you agree. Thanks for reading!

    • True! I guess homesickness kind of plays into it too. I probably just missed home. America is great, haha!

  • Such a good point, there’s definitely comfort in the familiar! I know I tend to go for the same sorts of films and food ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Half way through your first two paragraphs, even before i reached the familiarity part, i said, yeah because its familiar.. like you can relate to something like this!

  • I do think a lot of the time people favour things which they can relate to which is probably why they prefer the African movies. For example a Bollywood movie may be the most incredible thing but chances are I won’t enjoy it as I prefer Western movies x

    • The self-awareness is important and since you already have that, Rani, I think you’re good ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  • A very interesting concept! I know when I went to Florida I missed the lush green landscape of the UK so I totally get what you’re saying. Is it familiarity that we favour or is it comfort? x

  • Isn’t it funny how people prefer and find comfort in the familiar? I know a lot of people though who go out of their way to avoid the familiar and actually rebel against it to prove a point. I still think it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things x even if the grass isn’t greener on the other side x

    • Those rebels know what’s up. We should all try to step out of our comfort zones and try new, different things. Thanks for reading, Isabella!

  • We certainly do like our own little comfort zones don’t we. It is always good to get out of them, and try new things, to go to new places, but we can always come back to our own little place, with our own ways. My husband has a saying about opinions, that we all have one, they just smell a bit different. I guess in some ways we are all similar, we just like things a little different. Probably the things we are used to most.

  • Absolutely food for thought!
    I didn’t know where this post was going initially as I have never seen an African movie, however the comparisons with what we know and what is strange and different became really apparent.
    I agree with the strangeness of new places. I have felt uncomfortable in certain situations or places and calm and chilled in locations I know.
    Great thoughtful piece x

    • I’m glad you could agree with this post. And as I said, you’re not missing out on much with those African movies. Thanks for reading!

  • Strange comparison, but I’m just the same with horror movies ; I’ll watch pretty much any horror – regardless of how bad it is – purely because it reminds me of growing up and watching them, back-to-back, with my cousin. x

  • Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Pizza or roti? Depends on the day. Bad movies are sometimes the best movies. The feeling of sleeping in your own bed. the best feeling in the world

    • You mean that there’s beauty in both the familiar and the foreign? I can see that. Thanks for reading!

  • I heard these films are called ‘nollywood movies’ I have seen one and thought it was hilarious because of the bad acting. But your right, I think a look of people like these movies more because they are familiar to them and remind them of home.

    • Lol it just amazes me how many people are fascinated with them. I’m glad you agree about the acting in there though. At least I’m not being an unnecessary hater. Thanks for reading!

  • Think you’ve raised some interesting conversation topics here (and not just about Kim Kardashian’s prettiness lol). I can’t say I’ve ever watched one of these African movies , but you’ve intrigued me now – I wanna see just how bad they are! x

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