This article contains spoilers of Africa Magic’s ‘Unbroken’ series.
Ten months ago, fans of Africa Magic’s telenovelas were introduced to the crazy worlds of the Gyado and Jangfa families and their many shenanigans in their latest soap opera Unbroken. The first episode revealed an illicit love affair with the Gyado’s patriarch (Nonso Odogwu) and his personal assistant Diana (Uche Nwaefuna). The situation is spun for a riveting drama: the personal assistant is pregnant, and unlike the many other times she’s opted for an abortion, she intends to keep this one and wants to be ringed a wife.
Mr. Gyado won’t have it and ends their relationship. Diana being the archetypical scorned gold-digging mistress sets to wreck his life—she makes a grand entrance to his mansion on his 30th wedding anniversary and announces to his wife that she’s carrying her husband’s child. She does not expect the comeuppance that awaits her, when she’s pushed down the stairs, she tumbles down. And like all pretty girls who suffer an accident in the many telenovelas of the world, she wakes up an amnesiac.
This is just the beginning of the many tribulations the Gyado family would face through the 260 episodes of Unbroken. And so too for the Jangfa family who are bond to the Gyado’s not only by shady business dealings and neighbourhood gossips but also a romantic affair between their children, Tivdo Gyado (Efa Iwara) and Jesse Jangfa (Debby Felix).
Unbroken stays true to its telenovela genre. And we get all the features of a telenovela: Tivdo’s love triangle. The cheating involving a number of characters but we’d narrow it to the prime ones: Terfa Gyado and Diana, and between Ofure Jangfa (Dede) and Nafike Malafa (Uzor Arukwe). Rich Tivdo falling for Tallulah (Elma Mbadiwe) from a poor background. All the supermodel looking girls from Diana to FK (Teniola Aladese). The big family secret from Iyoma Gyado’s (Damilare Kuku) adoption story to Papa Wande. The many deaths of characters. These are classic features, tropes, and narratives of a telenovela. However while Unbroken is very formulaic, it has features that made it stood out and endeared viewers to it.
Unbroken crafted almost all of its characters to be three-dimensional. From protagonist like Jesse and Tivdo to Villains like FK and M.U. (William Benson), we loved and hated them at different points in time of the show. Our protagonists and antagonists were neither good or bad people, they were just humans doing good or bad things in different points in time. Seeing them in their highs and lows, revealed the complexities of the human.
Unbroken also gifted strong, independent, and ambitious female characters that we had to love: Iyoma, Dabota, Kosi, FK, Zua. The list is endless. There was also a Nigerianness to the characters. The fluidity of the segue of languages from English to Pidgin to Yoruba. Our characters knew when to be prim and proper, and when to take off their wigs and deck their opponents with a hot well-deserved slap.
Unbroken was showran by Biodun Stephen and James Omokwe, the producer of Africa Magic’s first epic telenovela series Ajoche. It’s head writer was Ifeanyi Barbara Chidi, and the writers room included writers such as Xavier Ighorodje, Tunde Aladese, Tamara Aihee, Anii Icha, Chiemeka Osuagwu and a host of others. The directors included, James Omokwe, Kayode Kasum, and Femi D. Ogunsawo.
Unbroken was so loved that it built an online engagement on Twitter, fans and viewers of the show bantering with the casts and crew of the show. For its last episode, some of the fans of the show connected via Zoom to discuss the highlights, and I spoke to 7 Unbroken fans asking 7 questions on their personal highlights and lowlights of the show via Twitter DM.
Favourite character on the show. Why were they your favourite character?
Akeem (@mycreamydelight): Ohimai mostly because of who played him, Thin Tall Tony. I did not think he was an actor. But he killed the role and I was impressed.
Tivdo’s transition from daddy’s boy to the man of the house was smooth. He brought the vulnerability to his role as a recently disabled young man.
Terfa: Nonso Odogwu was effortless in that role. Dabota (Evaezi Ogoro) Ex-convict, backstabber, blackmailer, schemer, but still a loving mother.
Ifeoluwa (@theifeoluwa): M.U.
Because beneath all that “hard guy”, was a man who valued his family.
Sharon Kanye (kanye_sharon): Terfa Gyado. He was a true family man. Even though his many problems tried to break up his family, he always found a way to maintain the family’s union.
Ose (Ose_Agenmonmen): I have more than a favourite character.Tivdo and M.U. I found Tivdo very annoying in the beginning especially the period after his surgery. He sulked a lot and lashed out at everyone. But with time,I began understand him and empathized with his situation. M.U. was a villain but the character was a very interesting and calculative one. They were also favourite characters because Efa Iwara and William Benson who play the respectively, are such fantastic actors and brought the characters to life.
Fakolade Samuel (@SaintAyanfe): Ohimai. His loyalty stood out for me.
Ijeoma (Art_of_Achalugo): Tivdo. Because he’s cute.
Anonymous: Kosi (Uche Chika Elumelu). She’s really the representation of what a true friend should be. I loved her vivacity. She was also very funny and lit up even the most depressing of scenes.
Favourite Villain? What you liked or disliked about them.
Akeem: FK. She made being manipulative really sexy.
Ifeoluwa: FK. She was a perfect schemer.
Sharon Kanye: Dabota. Inspite of all her mistakes and shortcomings, she loved her daughter. It’s just sad that she waited till the very end to come clean to her.
Ose:Papa Wande. het was the smartest villain on the show. He was always a step ahead of everyone and was very unpredictable till the end.
Ijeoma: FK. Liked her passion.
Anonymous: M.U. He loved and was very protective of his family. Also, he revered the elderly. He won my heart in that episode he published one of his boys for being disrespectful to Iya Lasisi.
Highlights of the show?
Akeem: M.U’s death.The setup of Justice Atinuke (Rita Edward).
Ifeoluwa: All the scenes with Stanlo. His tomfoolery was delightful to watch. When Papa wande beat FK. When Iyoma “lost” Leon (Michael Ejoor). Iyoma mourning him was intense to watch.
Sharon: When Tallulah’s mother was killed. When Demilade (Chris Okagbue) stole Jesse’s company.
Ose: When Zua’s mother started living with Tivdo and Zua, those were some hilarious moments.
Ijeoma: Meh. Too many clichés.
Anonymous: That time Leon forcefully kissed Iyoma and she slapped him after. I don’t care if she like him or not, that forceful kiss was a cringe. Every scene that had either Ofure, Kosi, Zua (Osaheria O.) or M.U. Ofure and M.U.’s sibling chemistry. Scenes with FK and Kosi in a room. Watching them was a lot of joy.
Lowlights of the show?
Akeem: How Papa Wande’s invincibility was reduced to nothing in a flash. For someone who had every agency in his pocket, getting out of the car and running in his agbada was ridiculous to me.
Ifeoluwa: That ending.
Sharon: The end.
Ose: M.U.’s death. It was too sudden.
Ijeoma: Unrealistic police behaviour.
Anonymous: The Malafa “mansion.” Their home didn’t sell the upper middle class narrative to me. That Oyibo Butler.
Akeem: Terfa and Abimbola Gyado.
Ifeoluwa: Terfa and Abimbola Gyado.
Sharon: Tivdo and Tallulah..
Fakolade: Terfa and Abimbola.
Ose:Tivdo and Talullah of course, they fought through all the obstacles and love won
Were you rooting for Tiv/Tal or got bored at some point.
Ifeoluwa: I got bored.
Sharon: Yessssss. I was really rooting for them.
Ose: I was rooting for them because I saw that they genuinely loved each other, even though there were many obstacles.
Fakolade: I was really rooting for them. I nearly had a heart attack when Tivdo rejected the little poor girl.
Ijeoma: I honestly didn’t care. They were very cliched.
Anonymous: The back and forth was a stress. I didn’t even find them cute. Couldn’t even be bothered because I knew that they’d still end up together inspite of all the drama.
Did you find the ending underwhelming?
Akeem: More like predictable. And yes, 30 minutes wasn’t enough for the last episode.
Ifeoluwa: The ending was just somehow.
Sharon: For me, it was overwhelming and dissapointing.
Ose: The ending was rushed and ended with a lot of unanswered questions.
Fakolade: The last scene was not interesting.
Anonymous: It was anticlimactic. I think Papa Wande was too much for them to handle.