Patronage of Local Cinema Halls among Urban Youths in Ado Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria Babatunde Joshua Omotosho
Introduction and Statement of Problem
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;
Negotiating the Livelihoods of Children and Youth in Africa’s Urban Spaces
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 important. 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. Understanding who a youth is would further lend a hand in appreciating their abilities in creating and recreating urban spaces. This framework provided by Chatterton and Hollandis (2005:7), while explaining...