We need to see these five kickass African novels beloved by many become movies we can all watch at the movies.
Those who attended the recently ended Writivism 2016 must have been pleased to find that they could watch one of the continents most beloved books turned movie; Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun. The book for those three of you who haven’t read it follows a family living during the period that Nigeria went into civil war when one of its regions called Biafra decided to secede from the nation. The movie which came out in 2013 was directed by Biyi Bandele.
It’s not just this book written by an African that has been made into a movie in recent times. Beasts of No Nation a movie starring Idris Elba about a young boy who becomes a child soldier as his country goes through a horrific war is based on the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala.
Then there is Happiness is A Four Letter Word which came out in South Africa this year and was based on the Cynthia Jele award winning novel of the same name. The movie which started a stellar cast of African actors was one of the biggest box office successes of 2016 in South Africa beating a lot of the Hollywood offerings in that market.
With these successes, perhaps we want to look at some other books that need to be looked at by Nollywood, Hollywood or any other “Woods.” I am aware that Lauren Beaukes graphic novel The Survivor Club is on short odds to be made into a movie but we can’t be resting on laurels here. Here are a few of our suggestions.
- I Do Not Come To You By Chance – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
This most famous of books introduced us to Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and her characters in the murky world of the Nigerian 419 scams. If you are reading this, you have received an email from some Nigerian prince or son/daughter/wife of President who needs your help to get money, usually fraudulently gotten, out of his/her country. The movie introduced us to the main protagonist Kings as well as scene stealer Cash Daddy and his protocol officer. This movie needs to see the light of day and I as the director would cast Edi Githegi as Kings, John Okafor aka Mr Ibu as Cash Daddy and as protocol officer young Kenyan actor Nick Ndeda who has many acting credits including Jacob’s Cross.
Buy your own copy of Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You by Chance here
- Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor.
This novel is one of the most important ones to come out of Kenya in a long while. The story follows the story of a family that is under pressure when their son Odidi is shot down by the police in a Nairobi street. It goes up and down the country to the North and to the centre as we follow a terrible history of their family. Apart from Odidi, there is Ajany his sister, Akai Ma his mother and Nyirpir his father. As director, I would select Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Odidi who was at the centre of the movie narrative with Lizz Njagah-Konstantaras as his sister who comes after his death. Nyirpir will of course be acted by Raymond Ofula who has acted in block busters like Lara Croft Tombn Raider and Akai Ma would be acted by Patricia Amira who many remember for her TV show The Patricia Show.
Buy your own copy of Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor book Dust here.
- The Women Next Door – Yewande Omotoso.
I read this book recently and came to love this two awful women Hortensia James and Marion Agostino who hate each other but have to somehow find a way to work together when the shit hits the fan. Those who I would cast in this movie would be Hlubi Mboya as Hortensia and Charlize Theron in the role of her enemy. They don’t look 80, but Theron has a history of changing her look for a role and Hlubi seems just perfect for this role.
Buy your own copy of The Woman Next Door Yewande Omotoso here.
- Season of Crimson Blossoms – Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
In this book that has fans all over the continent, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim weaves a tale of Hajiya Binta Zubairu a widow in conservative Muslim North Nigeria who starts a sexual relationship with a local hoodlum Hassan ‘Reza’ Babale. As a director, I would cast Patience Ozokwor known universally as Mama G as Hajiya and the young Reza would be Kenyan actor Maina Olwenya who burst onto the scene with a similar role in Nairobi Half Life.
Buy your own copy of Season of Crimson Blossoms here
- Azotus The Kingdom – Shadreck Chikoti.
In this book that reminds me a lot of that Logan’s Run movie from the 1950s, the protagonist is a man who lives in a futuristic world where he is a resident of a kingdom that is “perfect” but doesn’t allow for free thought. The main characters in the book are the man who has to escape this crazy world and the lady who helps him escape. The casting would be relatively simple for me as a director. The main character would be Robert Kalua who acted in The Last Fishing Boat one of Malawi’s best movies in recent times and Lupita Nyong’o who would be the female lead.
What do you think our casting ideas? Tells us in the comments below. Also we would be happy if you could add your own book and famous actors’ combination there.