5 Times Nollywood Gave Us Badass Female Protagonists

June 17, 2020

Half the time when we see women on screen in Nollywood they are either chasing after marriage or fighting off a wicked mother in law while married. It’s like even in on-screen fiction women have been reduced to the demographic of people whose biggest ambition and the ultimate goal should be conjugal bliss. Thus making singlehood the perpetual antagonist. That’s why seeing the female characters on this list was a breath of much needed fresh air.

For this list, the focus is on female characters that were not immersed in clichéd storylines about women hustling to get married, stay married, or win society’s approval. This list is about the female characters who came in with a different kind of bang.

Adaeze – Lionheart

zikoko - Nollywood female protagonists

Even though romance found a way into this story it wasn’t at the center of the plot. Throughout the movie, Adeaze’s biggest problem was keeping her father’s company afloat. Not making it through relationship ups and downs or editing her ambitions to fit into the Nigerian wife material box. And not once was her being single brought into the mix as a course for concern.

Lulu – Potato Potahto

zikoko - Nollywood female protagonists

Lulu was unconventional in a lot of ways. For a society where marriage has been branded as the one thing every woman should aspire to, Lulu effortlessly walked away from hers when it became uncomfortable. And I love how the plot did not make her out to be lonely and wretched for leaving her husband. Instead, it focused instead on the personality clashes between them both leading up to their divorce.

Hankuri Phillips – Love is War

zikoko - Nollywood female protagonists

Hankuri Phillips raised a lot of questions about women navigating politics in Nigeria. Her character particularly threw light on the loss of identity women suffer after marriage; the fact that they are neither accepted at their original states of origin (because they “married outside”) nor in their husband’s state of origin (because they are not from that state).

Dera – The Arbitration

zikoko - Nollywood female protagonists

This movie contributed a much-needed paragraph to the conversation about rape culture. Dera was suing her former boss for rape. The fact that she had previously led an affair with him became proof ad reference that having consensual sex with a person at one time didn’t mean you could still be raped by that person at another time. It also proved that brute force and violence don’t have to be involved to make it rape.

Eniola – King of Boys

This list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the legendary Eniola. The woman who slayed hard, paved her way and built a solid reputation for herself without having to sleep with anybody.

PS: All the movies listed are available on netflix.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 30, 2020

African women have had a complex relationship with birth control, so we ask 10 African women, to tell us their experiences using birth control. Ann; 26, Zambia I don’t like taking medicine unless it’s really necessary, and I barely finish my courses so I knew the pill was a no. I didn’t like the idea […]

Experiencing puberty
April 13, 2021

Puberty is described as a gradual switch from childhood to adulthood and also one of the most confusing stages of being human. Although it is characterized by changes like periods, growing breasts and rounding hips, many women experience puberty differently. Here’s what six Nigerian women have to say about experiencing puberty. Fifi, 22 I was […]

January 27, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 55-year-old Nigerian woman who is a Christian and a feminist. She talks about how discriminatory experiences as a female worker in church made her change churches and how she became a feminist.

Watch

Now on Zikoko

happy black woman
November 26, 2021

Women already have a list of things they spend their salary on and before you know it, salary don finish. How about we choose things to do for ourselves on payday to maximize enjoyment? Here’s a list of payday ideas for Nigerian women:

Recommended Quizzes

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

More from Her

happy black woman
November 26, 2021

Women already have a list of things they spend their salary on and before you know it, salary don finish. How about we choose things to do for ourselves on payday to maximize enjoyment? Here’s a list of payday ideas for Nigerian women:

monochrome woman
November 25, 2021

“In 2014, I wanted to explore my sexuality. I met this girl, Janet, on Badoo. She was nice. We texted for a couple of weeks before we started dating. There were no video calls then so we were always texting. In the third month of our relationship, she said she was travelling to Dubai for work and she wasn’t sure when she’d be back. She wanted to see me before she left. I told her I didn’t have money and she said she would sponsor the trip. 

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X