3 April 2020
5 reasons everyone is binge-watching Halita
Set in Northern Nigeria, Halita is a story of betrayal, love and ambition with doses of classism and human trafficking. An Aunty takes a young girl from the village to the city and sells her to a wealthy family. It’s not precisely slavery, but it can be described as so. The Young girl is the titular Halita; the wealthy family is the Zamani’s.
Her story is familiar, naïve girls (and their parents) are falsely sold dreams of a better future in the city or, in some cases, overseas. But for Halita, what started out as a nightmare later turned out to be a blessing.
Now streaming on Showmax and in its second season, Halita is a superb delight, a binge-worthy drama packed with excellent performances from its cast, particularly lead actor, Chisom Gabriella.
Five reasons you should binge-watch the show:
1. It tackles social justice
A reoccurring motif in Halita is classism; the series shows how the wealthy view and treat folks from a lower class. Matilda, the Zamani’s matriarch, once referred to Halita as “this creature” in the most demeaning manner. Also, the early parts of the series show how the rich quickly push the poor aside. Bobby, the second son of the Zamani’s, impregnates a maid, but rather than get him to take responsibility, the family sends the lady away and forces her to abort the baby.
2. And human trafficking
The promise of a better life has seen many parents naively (and selfishly) give their children away to wolves in sheep clothing. These people target semi-educated poor folks in remote areas and sweet-talk them about life outside the village. In Halita, the same happens, a strange woman gives her Halita’s dad some money and promises to take Halita to Abuja where she will work as a receptionist. Aunty Rabi is all nice in the village, but immediately they leave, she shows her true colours: she harshly talks to Halita and eventually sells her to the rich Zamani’s.
3. Old Nollywood’s wicked stepmother
The series borrows a lot from Old Nollywood, including the wicked stepmother trope. The Zamani’s matriarch, Matilda, is a classic bitchy stepmother; she is an arrogant, cold classist, and Ummi Baba-Ahmed plays the role magnificently. You never want to take your eyes off her thanks to her commanding onscreen presence, which is reminiscent of prime Patience Ozokwor, but with some regality.
But when Matilda isn’t being cold, she is a fiercely feminist matriarch who knows how and when to be in control, especially when the men around her are being irresponsible.
4. Hilarious characters – Unfortunate and Bobby
Halita tackles issues such as classism and human trafficking with good humour thanks to some of its characters, particularly Bobby and (Un)Fortunate.
Bobby is the Zamani’s black sheep – the spoilt, immature child who “has more offences than all the other Zamani children put together and multiplied.” But while his antics annoy his family, they delight the viewers.
(Un)Fortunate is one of the Zamani’s domestic helpers. Her name is Fortunate, but she’s called Unfortunate because her clumsiness always puts her in not-so-fortunate situations. She breaks things often and none of Zamani wants her around their rooms, but she is a character to root for.
5. And of course, Halita herself
Halita is the centre of the show, a young maiden loved by most, hated by few but respected by all. The village girl, lost in the city, has become the heartthrob of the city’s most eligible bachelors. If you want to know more about her, stream Halita on Showmax.