Chronicled by Afronuts @ Friday, December 10, 2010
I remember back in the past in Naija, the movies we watched mostly were foreign movies. Today we have Naija movies that get better (and at times worse) everyday.
In the past, most of the music that thrilled us was foreign music. Today we have our own music industry which has gain international acclaim.
In the past we used to read foreign novels (James Hadley Chase, Mills & Boon series etc) but along the line came our own novel sensations - the Pacesetters series (pictured above) which took everyone by storm. You'd see secondary school students as well as adults totting copies of these Nigerian (and sometimes other African) written urban pop-fiction series which ranged from Romance to Action thrillers. We loved them and they showed that we had a lot of talented pop-fiction writers here in Nigeria
These books were hot cakes back then and you saw them to buy at many bookshops then but over time they have disappeared and Macmillan doesn't seem to be publishing them anymore.
And people have gone back to reading foreign paperbacks. And people seem to read more of self help books or gossip tabloids today.
Why didn't the reading culture that seemed to explode during the pacesetters era stay on? What killed it? Could it be the coming of the internet and cable television?
Though lately there have been some revival attempts by some publishing outfits like Farafina books who are doing a good job of it. Also a new generation of authors are springing up with brilliant works all over the place. Reading session events are even recently becoming more frequent.
So should we be expecting that reading and writing culture to come back and storm the literate or reading populace like the pacesetters did back then?
We've created our own music types and broken away from being hooked to foreign ones; we've opened up the channel for our movie industry to thrive and become a renown one that's now viewed on satellite, we have writers and books coming out again but have Nigerians embraced reading as they have embraced music and the movies? Or are these two countering the reading culture?
I long for book lines like the pacesetters series to come back; they were fun in those days and added value to students way back. I believe it will help develop our reading culture and give us a space to create what is proudly our own that the outside world can appreciate. Imagine these series being adapted to movie versions (that will contribute to better storylines!).
I can't forget classics like 'Mark of the Cobra', 'On the Road', 'Naira Power', 'Director!', 'Coup!', 'Sisi'...and the list goes on. I feel like reading some of them again. we had real creative writers then and a series that was very accessible, and a reading public that was grabbing them.
Who else was ever a pacesetter fan?