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Coconut Head Generation

Coconut Head Generation

At Ibadan, Nigeria’s oldest university, a student association hosts a documentary screening and discussion group. In a country where dissent is frequently punished, this Thursday Film Series becomes a space for conversation and impassioned debate.

Organizers program films by the likes of John Akomfrah (Ghana/UK), Jean-Marie Teno (Mauritania), and Med Hondo (Cameroon). With the films as a starting point, the students hold compelling discussions on issues including corruption, gender roles, LGBTQ+ rights, colonialism, housing, and corruption. In between screenings, we get a taste of their daily lives at university, as they play soccer, eat instant noodles and joke around with each other.

But when nationwide protests against police brutality break out, students find themselves on the front lines of resistance — and the issues that occupied them take on a new urgency. Meanwhile, university life is far from carefree, with frequent blackouts, overcrowded conditions, and consequences for even the most benign actions to better their lives.

“Coconut head generation” is a term used by older generations to denigrate young Nigerians as brainless. As this film makes abundantly clear, they are anything but.

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