• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Igbo apprenticeship system spotlighted in Kayode Kasum’s ‘Afamefuna”

Igbo apprenticeship system spotlighted in Kayode Kasum’s ‘Afamefune”

‘Afamefuna; A Nwa Boy Story’ by Kayode Kasum initially debuted in cinemas across Nigeria in November 2023, receiving critical acclaim for its near-perfect portrayal of the Igbo Apprenticeship System.

After its run at the cinemas, the movie debuted on Netflix on March 28, 2024. The two hours long film starts with a young man Afamefuna (Stan Nze), a wealthy businessman who, while celebrating the remembrance of the passing of his late father was interrupted by an invitation to the police station in an investigation for the killing of his friend Paul (Alexx Ekubo).

Kasum used the investigation to tell the backstory of Afamefuna and Paul, who started their journey into business as apprentices and are led to work under the guidance of a wealthy businessman, Odogwu (Kanayo O. Kanayo), who runs a successful tile and building materials business in Lagos.

The Igbo Apprenticeship System, also known as ‘Nwa Boy’, is regarded as the largest business incubator system in Africa and the world in general. It is common in the Igbo culture where young boys 13 years and above are led to learn the ropes of the trade.

This could take up to 9 – 13 years, depending on when their master sees fit to give them their entrepreneurial freedom, when he gives them reasonable sums of money to start their own business, along with the master’s blessings. Think about it as an unofficial business school but one that has established millionaires and thousands of businesses in Nigeria and Africa.

Kasum tells this story to near perfection as Afamefuna narrates how he started working under Odogwu and how Paul taught him all he needed to know, spurring their friendship and brotherhood.

While both friends flourished as honourable salesmen for Odogwu, Afamefuna’s talent rose above the rest, capturing the master’s attention. This unexpected development, granting Afam his entrepreneurial freedom before Paul, would ignite the story’s climax.

Paul’s jealousy towards Afamefuna’s success fueled a series of poor choices. These rash decisions would ultimately lead to his business failing, plunging him into debt with dubious partners, tragically costing him his longtime girlfriend, Amaka, who drifted towards Afamefuna and finally his death.

Alex Ekubo earned widespread praise for his supporting role as Paul and looks like a favourite candidate for the Best Supporting Actor category at the 2024 AMVCA.

The cinematography and colour grading gave the movie a distinct picture, which further bolsters its appeal. The film is expected to be accepted by most of the Igbo community in Nigeria, whose unique story Kasum has told with detail.

Afamefuna: A Nwa Boy Story isn’t just another coming-of-age tale, it is a masterclass showcasing indigenous business practices. The film delves into the heart of the Igbo apprenticeship system, where raw potential is nurtured into entrepreneurial fire.

The film doesn’t shy away from the challenges either. The pressure to impress the master, the bonds tested by competition, and the sacrifices demanded on the path to independence are all portrayed with unflinching honesty.

Afamefuna: A Nwa Boy Story emerges as a powerful testament to the Igbo spirit of resilience, resourcefulness, and the pursuit of economic empowerment through a unique cultural lens.