Various Nigerian press outlets and journalists took to twitter to report that Biyi Bandele’s “Half Of A Yellow Sun” – a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name – has finally been cleared by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, for local release.
The announcement didn’t include a date that the film will eventually be released now that it’s been approved for release. According to the Board’s Corporate Affairs representative, Caesar Kagho, the film has been approved with an “18” rating, which, based on my research, is the equivalent of an “R” rating here in the USA, which matches what the MPAA rated it for USA release.
This news comes over 2 months after the film was initially set to open in Nigerian theaters (it’s already been released in the USA and the UK, and is already available on home video in both regions).
It was to open in Nigeria, where the film is set, on Friday, April 25, but that didn’t happen, as its release date was postponed, and has since been delayed, due to “delays in getting certification from Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.”
Government censors said that they delayed the release of the film because “it might incite violence in the country” given its subject matter – specifically, a scene that details a massacre at a northern Nigerian airport – in light of current political turmoil within the country. Nevermind that it’s a film whose backdrop – the Biafran war, which saw millions killed – is based on fact. I’ve always said, since this all began, that the Censors Board might not be giving Nigerian audiences enough credit, and ultimately, this would likely end up being much ado about nothing, as the noise created by the film’s release delays may actually drowned out any made by audiences about the content, after the film is finally released.
What led to the film’s eventual Census Board approval isn’t yet public information. It was previously reported that the bureau wanted certain scenes to be cut from the film in order for approval to be granted. So maybe we are to assume that the producers of the film accepted the compromise.