REDEFINING IDENTITY: Precious Oyelade is a Cambridge graduate thanks to her first-class Nollywood-based dissertion
A CAMBRIDGE graduate has impressed academics with her dissertation on Nigeria’s flourishing film industry, better known as Nollywood, to the extent that she secured a first-class rated paper that is set to be published.
Precious Oyelade, from south London, defied the statistics to graduate with a degree in politics, psychology and sociology from Britain’s leading university with her dissertation, Changing representations of Nigerian identity: An exploration through Nollywood and its audience.
Oyelade, whose parents hail from Nigeria, was inspired by her heritage to explore a new narrative in her 10,000-word paper that fed directly into her final degree grade.
“For me it was the issue of identity. I really wanted to look at how Nollywood impacts those who have grown up in the diaspora, who identify as Nigerian but still see themselves also as British and what distance exists between us and those in Nigeria in relation to film,” the 21-year-old explained.
GLOBAL INDUSTRY: A Nollywood film poster
“In my study, I found that we as a diaspora have the choice and an ability to decide which part of our identity we want to focus on.”
Potentially one of the first of its kind at Cambridge, the decision to write the most significant project of her academic career on Nigeria’s film industry was a risk Oyelade admitted that she nearly didn’t take.
“People were advising me to do something that is popular within academic culture so that I could get the best supervision from someone who’s a specialist. It was a big leap of faith especially in a traditionally academic institution like Cambridge,” she said.
After receiving her result, the graduate said she nearly fainted. “Once you get past a 75 [mark] the work is regarded as publishable. I scored a 78 so my supervisor has been pushing me to get it published because it’s opening a wider narrative about the Black British experience and the fact that we’re not a homogenous group.”
Oyelade expressed a future ambition to work in the Nollywood industry which she regards as having unlimited potential, but for now she is happy working with young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).