A Japa Tale: Dike Ofoma’s Heartwrenching Exposé On Emigration

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Nigerian writer and filmmaker Dika Ofoma has released his short film, A Japa Tale, which explores the dynamics of relocation through the story of a young couple, Emuche and Dubem played by Onyinye Odokoro and Daniel Ngozika. The film delves into the realities of the current trend of “Japa” (emigrating from Nigeria) and the impact it has on relationships. 

The story is complex, yet not far-fetched. Emuche is suddenly made aware of Dubem’s decision to leave the country. He works through the different stages without as much as a hint of his plans to his partner and finally drops the bomb on a shocked Emuche who does not take the news well. Dubem’s utterly selfish decision sets off a chain of events when Emuche realises she is pregnant. In a bid to do the right thing, he has Emuche move in with his mother (Ozioma Ejiofor) where she is to live till he finds his feet, but this solution only works in theory. 

Dubem’s mother is a typical Nigerian mother whose domineering and opinionated personality clashes with Emuche’s modern, resolute nature.

The conflict between the two threatens to tear the couple apart, rather than the distance between them. Whether it is Dubem’s reluctance to properly stand up for her as his mother rips into her or not wanting to deal with recurring back and forths over trivial matters, Emuche comes to the realisation that this is not the life she envisions for herself. She attempts to call things off with Dubem, who belittles her dreams in a desperate attempt at getting back together, but Emuche’s strong willed, assured personality shines through. The film ends with the couple parting ways and Emuche taking full responsibility for her pregnancy, promising to let Dubem know what she chooses to do about it, despite his vehement opposition to an abortion. 

What stands out the most in this short, yet compelling production is the originality and magnification of an everyday occurrence. The dialogue is easy and as natural as they come, with a heavy infusion of the Igbo language which gives it a more realistic taste. Ofoma’s short film carries unusual depth as he carefully paints a picture of the relevance of self awareness. Emuche understands Dubem’s decision, despite her grouse that she is not brought on board from the start, but refuses to give up herself for the attainment of his dreams. 

Overall, A Japa Tale is an emotional roller-coaster that immerses the audience in the characters’ experiences. It offers a refreshing change from the exaggerated and overplayed tropes often seen in Nollywood, with actors who fully embody Ofoma’s writing. 

Watch A Japa Tale here. 


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