Filmmaker Monica Swaida documents African legends in New Amazon series

Over the years, Nigerians have asked entertainment industry pioneers who paved the way for today’s flourishing sector to be celebrated.

Leading this charge is Nigerian-American showbiz entrepreneur Monica Swaida, who initiated ‘Tales of Our Legend’.

‘Tales of Our Legend’ is a documentary series currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

It tells the stories of African legends who have impacted society but have been overlooked or neglected in Nigeria.

Ms Swaida was inspired to create the series in 2019 after encountering some of these legends during a movie production in Nigeria.

Witnessing their living conditions and lack of recognition in their homeland, compared with their acclaim in the diaspora, shocked her.

She said the documentary series was borne out of inspiration from the legends themselves, motivating her to document their stories and share them with the world.

Monica Swaida
Monica Swaida

She believed that if they (Nigerians) didn’t preserve their narratives, no one else would.

Her goal, she said, is to enlighten Nigerians and foster a deeper connection with their history and culture, aiming to instil a profound love for their heritage.

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Featuring interviews with 25 legends, including those who have since passed away, such as Rachel Oniga, Tee Mac, Bongos Igwue, Sadiq Daba, and Sani Bello, among others, the series offers a touching glimpse into their (the legends) lives and contributions.

Ms Swaida stated that she funded the project and filmed it across various locations in Nigeria, intending to expand the series further and chronicle the stories of additional legends.

She said: “We shot our first episode in 2020, but we didn’t have the market, and after trying so much, we decided to partner with Amazon in America and started showing on January 1, 2024. The first season is out while the second season is ready.

“The mission is to ensure our people see the documentary and acquaint themselves with our past legends, the ones who are dead and equally the ones currently alive and who need to be celebrated. Someone must document this, hence why I have decided to shoulder the responsibility, financially and generally.”

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Ms Swaida, who produced and starred in the film ‘Esohe,’ said the series was her means of contributing to her society.

Having been involved in the entertainment industry since 14, she served as a backup singer for legendary musicians such as Majek Fashek, Sonny Okosun, and Evi Edna Ogoli.

She expressed equal adoration for music, movies, and insurance.

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