When discussing classic modern day nigerian Television, it may be impossible to wrap up the conversation without including Jenifa’s Diary. This 24 season show is an elite era on its own that has wasped through several pop culture eras through the last decade. It’s crazy when you realize the show has only been around for six years as its original release date was in 2015. Despite the recency of the show, 2021 marks the thirteenth birthday of Funke Akindele’s fictional character Jenifa. Jenifa came into the nollywood industry as comedy-drama in 20018. It rocked the industry as it visualized some of the common tales parents warned their kids about.
The 2015 remake of the original film received more accolades and recognition as the series addressed pressing societal issues infused into the comical situations Jenifa (Funke Akindele) gets herself into. Issues such as fraud, sexual education, drug abuse and much more are frequently addressed in the show.
To an extent Jenifa has been a major connecting factor for many Nigerians in Diaspora. I’m currently rewatching the seasons on youtube and the comment section is a little community alone of Nigerians in Diaspora connecting with the motherland. Her quirky portrayals (Although a bit stereotypical a-times) of everyday Nigerians and their shenanigans gives those away from home a sense of familiarity and nostalgia. I try to believe each laugh from the show feels like a warm hug of safety you feel when you’re at home.
Asides from the nostalgia and sense of homesickness it still gives to those in Diaspora, it’s a shame its importance is being overlook here Nigeria. The initial frenzy over its release was one for the books. It was hardly possible for Nigerians to go a day without mimicking Jenifa’s hilarious slangs and bad grammar. Looking back at the early seasons, I still find it hard to believe that’s what we were like in 2015, it’s so cringe. When I mean ‘we’ I mean the general social atmosphere in Nigeria. I keep asking “Is this what good makeup was like then?” “How could this outfit have been fashionable?” “Banky W?????“. On the bright side, it’s a rather interesting form of documenting Nigeria’s social timelines.
It’s amazing watching Funke Akindele build a character and get the viewers to become invested and connected to it. Through its ongoing 24 season run, viewers have watched Jenifa go from a JJC from Ayetoro Town with bad grammar, to a successful entrepreneur in Lagos still with bad grammar. It’s an entertaining show I hope stays around for a while longer.