Kwagh Hir

© Speed / Harper
30 minutes / Colour / 1975
Directed by
Frank Speed Peggy Harper

Country of production Nigeria United Kingdom

Four million Tiv people form the major culture of the Benue state of southern Nigeria. They are popularly known as the greatest democrats in Africa as their society is based on fraternal cooperation between age mates rather than on authoritative chieftaincy. Men of an age work together on communal farming and house building and celebrate their achievements with feasts famed for the excellence of their music and dance. Their women create amongst the greatest dances in Nigeria within their extended family compounds. Each year, during the dry season, when there is little farm work, the leaders of the dance teams compose songs to record recent experiences and new features in their lives which they express in the rhythms and gestures of their dance. This flare for continuous invention reached great heights of creativity in the Tiv storytelling drama known as the Kwagh-hir. Kwagh-Hir (literally meaning "something magical") is a traditional Nigerian puppet theatre show of the Tiv tribe of central Nigeria. The Kwagh Hir performance is a mixture of: Storytelling, poetry, puppetry, music, dance, and drama. Traditionally the Kwagh-Hir group has consistently been organised into four different categories which are: the management, the musicians, the performers and the sculptors. There is normally a role that is suitable for different members of the entire community. An elderly man usually tends to be the leader of the Kwagh Hir group the Ter-u-Kwagh-Hir meaning father of Kwagh Hir. His job is to organise the group and settle any differences or disputes that may arise.

Language and subtitles English (no subtitles)

Region West Africa

Country Nigeria

Keywords Festivals / Carnival Dance / Theatre / Performance Ritual

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