Google Doodle Celebrates Nigerian Amaka Igwe, A Matriarch Of Nollywood

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Amaka Igwe, a pioneer of the Nigerian entertainment industry, would have turned 57 on Jan. 2 when a Google doodle celebrating her life was published. Image by Autumn Keiko

Amaka Igwe, a pioneer of the Nigerian entertainment industry, would have turned 57 on Jan. 2. Her contribution to Nigeria’s film industry was celebrated with a Google doodle of her achievements on the search engine’s homepage.

Google alters the logo on its homepage most days with an image or animation to celebrate achievements, people, holidays and events. 

A few doodles deemed to have global appeal are shown internationally while others are geographically-restricted, created for a local audience. This was the case for the Igwe doodle which was shown exclusively in Nigeria.

Igwe was an award-winning writer, director, entrepreneur, and producer credited with raising the quality and global awareness of Nollywood — Nigeria’s film industry, according to Face2FaceAfrica.

Nollywood employs more than 1 million people and has grown fast due to the ability of under-pressure film crews to shoot a full-length feature in a week, according to Forbes.

Producing more than 50 movies per week, Nollywood has the second largest output in the world. Only India’s movie industry, Bollywood, produces more.

Born on Jan. 2, 1963 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, Igwe made her directorial debut in the feature film ”Rattlesnake” in 1995 before writing and directing the highly successful national TV series “Fuji House of Commotion” which ran from 2001-to-2012.

Speaking about her work as a director and producer in Nollywood, Igwe once said, “I will give you all I have, so you can add it to what you have and be better than me.”

Nicknamed the “matriarch of Nollywood“, Igwe built a media empire by co-founding a production company, radio station, and TV network, Pulse reports.

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In 2011, she was announced as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an award that honors Nigerians who have made important contributions to the country, BBC reports.

Igwe died after an asthmatic attack in Enugu state on April 28, 2014.

The doodle depicting Igwe’s accomplishments was illustrated by Nigerian-raised, Brooklyn-based guest artist Data Oruwari, according to Google.