The last week in April marked four years since we lost one of Nigeria’s creative industry’s greatest minds, Amaka Igwe. who almost single-handedly pioneered the modern Nigerian video film, TV and cinema era. She lived her life as though she had an unwritten contract to entertain Africa.
With more than 25 years experience in the industry, she was undoubtedly an expert in Nigerian and African entertainment. She was an award-winning filmmaker and owner of Amaka Igwe Studios (a film studio which also had a training arm for grooming would-be directors, writers and actors). She had a plethora of movies to her name – Rattle Snake I, II and III, Violated, Full Circle – and TV series like Fuji House of Commotion, Checkmate, Infinity Hospital and Solitaire, which she produced and in most cases wrote too. She is also known to have found many notable movie stars including Richard Mofe Damijo, Lala Akindoju, tope oshin ogun and several others.
Igwe founded BOBTv, and Top Radio 90.9 in Lagos she also had a TV station Q Entertainment Networks, a DStv channel – QTv, had several productions for Mnet Africa and was a prominent figure in the industry until her death in the last week of April 2014.
Uzoamaka Audrey Igwe was born to in Porth Harcourt on 2 January 1963. She had her secondary education in Enugu and obtained her A-Levels at Idia College, Benin where she began her journey with the creative industry, teaching Atilogwu dance and even competing nationally.
Amaka went on to study Education/Religion (Theology) at the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) after which she joined the production team of the MNET film “Barbers Wisdom” as director, before writing and directing some of the earliest modern Nollywood movies and TV series and contributing immensely to the creative industry in Nigeria. Her substantial contributions and inspiration to others earned her the much coveted national award of Member of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR). She was an icon of excellence and hardwork till her death.
Her death on April 28, 2014, at 8:30 pm in Enugu came as a shock to all those who knew her and others who had been positively impacted by her service. However many have built on the foundation she left behind to bring the Nigerian film industry to its present lofty height – The second largest film industry in the world, only next to Hollywood.
Igwe was an innovator, a prolific creative industries mogul par excellence that kept pushing the envelope until her death. The creative industry in Nigeria is what it is today because one amazon dared to take it by the horn at a time when it was difficult to get funding, there was very limited expertise available and the industry was not very friendly to women who wanted to do what she did.
Today we are grateful that Amaka Igwe passed through here, even if but once.