Living in Bondage

Living in Bondage is a 1992/93 Nigerian two-part drama thriller film directed by Chris Obi Rapu, written by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor,[1] produced by Ogunjiofor, and sponsored by Jafac Wine. The film was shot straight-to-video,[2] and starred Kenneth Okonkwo and Nnenna Nwabueze in their breakout roles.

Living in Bondage
Directed byChris Obi Rapu
Produced byKen Nnebue
Written byKenneth Nnebue
Okechukwu Ogunjiofor
StarringKenneth Okonkwo
Nnenna Nwabueze
Okechukwu Ogunjiofor
Francis Agu
Bob-Manuel Udokwu
Release date
  • 1992 (1992) (Part 1)
  • 1993 (1993) (Part 2)
Running time
163 min

In August 2015, Charles Okpaleke acquired the rights to Living in Bondage for a period of ten years under his production company Play Entertainment Network.[3] On November 2, 2019, the highly anticipated sequel, Living in Bondage: Breaking Free,[4][5] premiered in Lagos.[6]


Andy Okeke (Kenneth Okonkwo) and his wife Merit (Nnenna Nwabueze) face several obstacles – redundancy, infidelity, the loss of their savings in a bogus investment, and indecent proposals from lecherous men including Merit's boss Ichie Million (Francis Agu) and Chief Omego (Kanayo O. Kanayo). Andy constantly compares his lack of fortune to the success of his peers, especially old friend Paul (Okechukwu Ogunjiofor). Despite Merit's support and patience, Andy is driven to near-depression, determined to obtain wealth by any means possible, and the slick-talking Paul reveals his secret – a satanic cult where members pledge their loyalty to Lucifer and kill their loved ones in ritualised sacrifices, gaining enormous wealth in return. After much hesitation, Andy reluctantly agrees to sacrifice the person he loves the most – Merit. She dies in hospital days after the ritual, but not before she curses her husband's betrayal.

Andy's sudden affluence and subsequent remarriage three months after Merit's death raise suspicion from his former in-laws who accuse him of murdering their daughter. He also faces more problems – the paparazzi's constant interference in his daily life, his new wife Ego (Ngozi Nwosu) fleeing with his money after he collapses at their traditional wedding, and Merit's ghost haunting and terrorising him when he least expects. Andy would later enter a common-law union with Chinyere (Jennifer Okere), another woman introduced to him by Merit's former friend Caro (Ngozi Nwaneto), but she meets her untimely death after Caro poisons her friend and attempts to escape abroad with the cash Chinyere steals from her husband. Caro is also killed by a hit-and-run driver on her way to the airport, and Paul is murdered by hitmen after Andy holds him partially responsible for his involvement with the cult.

A now frustrated Andy asks the satanic cult for help, but when the Chief Priest (Daniel Oluigbo) insists he can only pacify his late wife's spirit by blinding and castrating himself, he refuses and becomes mentally deranged, living as a vagrant under a Lagos flyover until Tina (Rita Nzelu) – a former prostitute Andy previously presented to the cult as a decoy before his deceit was exposed – takes him to her church. He finally confesses to Merit's murder, and Andy's mother (Grace Ayozie) weeps at her late daughter-in-law's grave, pleading for her forgiveness.

In the film's final scene Andy, now cured of his insanity, worships with the evangelical Christians who have assured him his sins are forgiven.[7][8][9]


  • Kenneth Okonkwo as Andy Okeke[10]
  • Nnenna Nwabueze as Merit, Andy's wife
  • Kanayo O. Kanayo as Chief Omego, cult member
  • Felicia Mayford as Obidia
  • Francis Agu as Ichie Million, cult member and Merit's boss
  • Okechukwu Ogunjiofor as Paul, Andy's friend and cult member[11]
  • Ngozi Nwaneto as Caro, Merit's friend and Paul's girlfriend
  • Ngozi Nwosu as Ego, Andy's mistress
  • Clement Offiaji as Robert, fraudster
  • Chizoba Bosah as Merit's aunt
  • Bob-Manuel Udokwu as Mike, cult member
  • Sydney Diala as cult member/initiator
  • Daniel Oluigbo as cult chief priest
  • Obiageli Molugbe as cult mother
  • Rita Nzelu as Tina, local prostitute
  • Jennifer Okere as Chinyere, Caro's friend
  • Ruth Osu as Andy and Merit's neighbour
  • Grace Ayozie as Andy's mother
  • Benjamin Nwosu as Andy's father

Actors Kanayo, Agu, Udokwu, Molugbe, and Osu were already established actors from the soap opera Checkmate, and Okere had a regular role in rival soap Ripples; their appearance helped generate publicity for the movie. Nwabueze, Nwosu, and Ogunjiofor were the only main actors not to reprise their roles for the second part of the movie. Nwabueze's character Merit appears in a flashback scene, but a body double plays her ghost. Paul's name is mentioned numerous times in part two but he never appears on-screen; his death scene is also filled in by a body double.


In 2015, veteran actor Ramsey Nouah and Charles Okpaleke acquired the rights to Living In Bondage from Kenneth Nnebue for a possible remake to be filmed in Europe and America as well as Nigeria.[12] The news was later confirmed on Instagram, but remained in development hell for three years.[13]

In 2018, Nouah announced his remake had transitioned into a sequel now titled Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, and was released on November 8, 2019, becoming the 11th highest-grossing Nigerian movie. Nouah, who plays the cult's new chief priest, makes his directorial debut, with original actors Okonkwo, Udokwu, and Kanayo also involved.[14] The story centres on Andy's son Nnamdi, and his vaunting quest for wealth like his father before him. Former MBGN Muna Abii makes her acting debut alongside Swanky JKA in his breakout role.

The film premiered on Netflix in May 2020.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jagoe, Rebecca. "From Living in Bondage to the Global Stage: The Growing Success of Nollywood". The Culture Trip. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  2. ^ Tucker, Neely (5 February 2005). "Nollywood, In a Starring Role". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C., USA: The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  3. ^ (2019-10-28). "We Had an Exclusive Chat with Charles Okpaleke, Executive Producer of "Living In Bondage: Breaking Free"". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  4. ^ Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
  5. ^ "'Living in Bondage: Breaking Free' is perfect for Ramsey Nouah's directorial debut (Review)". 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  6. ^ "Charles Okpaleke's 'Living in Bondage the Sequel' Premieres". 2019-11-08. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  7. ^ "Nollywood dreams". Melbourne, Australia: The Age Company Ltd. 31 July 2004. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  8. ^ Adebajo, Adekeye. "SA and Nigeria must throw culture into foreign policy mix". Johannesburg, South Africa: Times LIVE. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Nollywood turns out 2,000 films a year". Port of Spain, Trinidad: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Andy has overtaken my real name, Kenneth Okonkwo cries out - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2014-10-25. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  11. ^ "Okechukwu Ogunjiofor". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  12. ^ Ramsey Nouah reportedly set to remake first successful Nollywood movie, ‘Living in Bondage’
  13. ^ A Sequel To The 1992 Classic Is Being Made
  14. ^ Awaiting Second Coming Of Living In Bondage
  15. ^

External linksEdit