‘Daybreak In Udi,’ The Igbo Film That Became the First African Film to Win the OSCARS in 1950

In 1950,  DAY BREAK IN UDI, a feature film shot in Udi in present day Enugu State became the first ever film shot in any African language to win the OSCARS.


Day Break in Udi was shot in Igbo language in 1949 and also featured Igbo characters and actors. The film which was shot in black and white  dwelled on the transitioning time and the clash of European culture and the native Igbo culture revolved around a plan by an emergent educated class to build a “modern” health centre to cater for the health needs of the people of Udi.

The charge for building the maternity home is led by two teachers, Iruka and Dominic played by Fanny Elumeze and Harford Anerobi. The duo haven been educated and exposed to European culture and civilization believe that it is a sign of their new status as leaders and for their community to make progress by establishing a western-type health centre that will bring in new knowledge and healthcare practice different from the indigenous system.

However, their seeming good intentioned move is vehemently opposed by a man named Eze, played by Josef Amalu, who believed that the new project was an affront on the community, its people and culture.

It is to be noted that the District Officer, E. R Chadwick also starred in the film as the District Officer with his real name. Despite initial opposition to the maternity home by Eze, he was eventually also converted and sat by the side of the District Officer on the day of the opening of the maternity home.

Though the topic of the film has been roundly discussed in various forms including in other genres of Literature.

The moral of this is that the modern quest to win the OSCARS by Nigerian nay African filmmakers and actors may actually be misplaced going by the quest to tell our stories from Euro-American lens view.

Many critics have noted that Nigerian and other African musiccians began to garner Grammy nominations and wins  when their songs became  rooted more in African beats and experiences  instead of trying hard to adapt western-type songs.






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