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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - Negotiating the Livelihoods of Children and Youth in Africa's Urban Spaces
Title Patronage of Local Cinema Halls among Urban Youths in Ado Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 169-186
URL http://www.codesria.org/IMG/pdf/11-_Omotoshe.pdf
Globally, urban areas are noted for the provision of social and public spaces in
terms of education, energy supply, leisure, recreation facilities in order to make
life conducive for the urban dwellers. Nigerians are deprived of these facilities in
urban centres due to poverty and failure to maintain the existing ones, among
other reasons. However, in the words of Simone (2005:1), Africans ensure that
they make the city conducive in spite of the challenges they face; they ensure that
they make the city ‘a platform to consolidate particular approaches to engaging a
larger world’. Nigerian youths are no exception and appear to have played a
crucial role in this process over time.
One of the means adopted among urban youths in Nigeria in the process of
making urban centres conducive for living and meeting the expected status quo is
the establishment of local cinema halls (viewing centres) usually constructed with
planks and wood benches for the spectators, to accommodate fifty spectators or
more. A large television set is usually placed in the hall and connected to cable
networks. The proprietors of these cinemas halls (mostly youths) collect a token
for tickets from spectators (youths) to watch international football matches and
sometimes foreign movies. This is a welcome development considering the ability
of youths to re-invent and transform the public space to their survival and
satisfaction (Diouf 1996:228; Honwana and Boeck 2005:17; Biaya 2005:214).
This further becomes interesting taking into cognisance the importance of
recreation, games and sports in the socialization process among youths which
unfortunately are not available for them (Cohen 1993; Calhoun 1987; Utuh 1999;Callois 2001; World Youth Report 2003, 2005). An understanding of the youths
involved; the kind of social relations existing among these groups and implications
of their actions on the wider youths and the general society therefore becomes
Youths constitute 40 to 50 per cent of the population of the urban centres in
Africa and they have undergone (and are still undergoing) series of changes and
interventions (Amit-Talai and Wulff 1995:116; Chingunta 2002; Biaya 2005;
Honwana and Boeck 2005:16). Youths have been involved in violence, trafficking
(as victims and perpetrators), gangsterism, and revolutions of all kinds (Igbinovia
1998:134; Taylor 2002:19; Aghatise 2002:20), including Nigerian youths. One of
the areas where activities of youths become interesting is in the area of leisure.
Youths globally are increasingly seeking new ways to spend their free time, out of
both necessity and interest (World Youth Report 2003:228). Studies have further
revealed that youths, especially boys, often spend their leisure time outside the
home with their peers (World Youth Report 2003:243). They are innovative and
have contributed in many instances to the development of their communities.
However, these positive roles do not usually receive attention as public attitudes,
the media, and policies usually consider youth activities as problems to be solved
rather than a potential to be observed and developed (World Youth Reports
2003, 2005; Honwana and Boeck 2005:7). For instance, studies often raise fears
as regards social space of youths in terms of socio-political and economic issues
(Sarr 2000; Economic Commission for Africa 2002; Okojie 2003). This perceived
image has affected the type of responses to the youths and the type of studies
conducted as regards them.

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