Sakobi

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VHS cover of Sakobi the Snake Girl.

Sakobi is a two-part series of 1998 Nigerian direct-to-video films, comprising Sakobi the Snake Girl and Sakobi Part 2: The Final Battle, produced and directed by Zeb Ejiro. [1][2]

Plot

Sakobi the Snake Girl

Sakobi transforms from a snake into her human form.

The film begins with a Sakobi transforming herself from a snake into a woman. She then heads to a ceremony carried out by the Cult of the Kongodis, who worship a goddess referred to as the “Great Queen” and “Wise Serpent”. Frank Davis, the central protagonist, visits the ceremony and asks the head priestess if she can make him rich; she agrees to do so, if he sacrifices his only child. Should he fail to fulfil his half of the bargain, he will be killed.

Frank offers his daughter Hope, but the goddess turns down this sacrifice. The goddess then curses him with a short life, although his friend Patrick - who also made a pact with the snake goddess - informs him that he will still receive all the benefits of aligning himself with the Kongodis. These include material wealth and possessions, along with beautiful women.

Patrick introduces Frank to Sakobi, who is hiding her identity as a shapeshifter. Despite already being married, Frank begins dating Sakobi; eventually, she declares that she will only continue their relationship if Frank gives her his soul. He agrees, and marries Sakobi after ejecting his wife and daughter his home.

Frank, Patrick and Sakobi attend a party together. Sakobi goes into a trance and bites Patrick’s wife on the arm. A doctor treats her and finds that she has been infected with snake venom. Later on Sakobi bumps into Frank’s first wife, Dora, who sees the mysterious woman transform into a giant cobra.

Frank goes to a native doctor[3] for help, and the two men take part in a ritual. The film ends with Frank returning with payment, only to find that the native doctor has vanished. Sakobi then comes out of the ground and grabs him.

Sakobi Part 2: The Final Battle

VHS cover of Sakobi Part 2: The Final Battle.

Seemingly contradicting the conclusion to the previous film, Sakobi Part 2 begins with Frank returning home to his wife Sakobi, who placates his anger using magic. Nene, a friend of Frank’s first wife Dora, visits Frank’s house; she pulls a Bible out of her bag, and Sakobi runs in out of the room when she sees the book. Nene goes and tells Dora about the incident; Dora is horrified that Frank has married an evil being. The two women go to a pastor for advice.

Sakobi realises that she can only obtain Frank’s soul if she breaks the protective spell placed by the native doctor. She surmises that she can do so by tricking him into eating snail meat. She introduces him to her brother and sister, who serve him meat and wine; only later does Sakobi reveal that the food was actually snake blood and snails.

Frank goes to find the native doctor, but it turns out that the man is dead. When he returns home, he finds Sakobi in pain: she has injured her foot and, reluctantly, Frank helps to perform first aid. In tears, Sakobi apologises for betraying him.

When the Kongodi worshippers arrive for Frank’s soul, Sakobi fights them off. Sakobi later visits the priestess who, as punishment, fatally injures her. Frank goes looking for his wife, and finds her dying; she expresses her love for him before passing away. Frank then goes and visits Sakobi’s parents with the sad news; her mother reveals that she was unable to conceive, and so turned to the Kongodi Kingdom for a daughter.

Devastated by the loss, Frank wanders around until he gets hit by a car. After recovering, he returns to his first wife Dora and confesses his sins. At Dora’s behest, Frank vows to become a devout Christian. The Kongodis return to his house, again trying to obtain his soul; but as he has a Bible, they are powerless against him. The film ends with Frank visiting a church alongside Dora and Hope.

Background

In her essay "The Portrayal of Witchcraft, Occults and Magic in Popular Nigerian Video Films", Grace Kumwenda identifies Sakobi the Snake Girl as being part of the "voodoo genre, which is sometimes referred to as the horror genre".[4] Osakue Stevenson Omoera's article "Video Film and African Social Reality: A Consideration of Nigeria-Ghana Block of West Africa" includes Sakobi on a list of films that include "the mixing of horror and magic in melodrama".[5]

Cast

  • Susan Patrick as Sakobi
  • Saint Obi as Frank Davies
  • Gloria Ogunjiofor as Dora Davies
  • Domitilla Oleka as Mighty Serpent
  • Patience Oghre as Nene
  • Mimi Ejiro as Hope Davies
  • Tony Umez as Patrick
  • Dusty Edet as the native doctor
  • Emmanuel France as Sakobi’s father
  • Princess Akor as Sakobi’s mother

References

  1. Saul, Mahir; Austen, Ralph A.: ‘’Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution’’
  2. Haynes, Jonathan: Nigerian Video Films’’
  3. This is how the character is identified in the credits.
  4. Kumwenda, Grace: “The Portrayal of Witchcraft, Occults and Magic in Popular Nigerian Video Films”
  5. Omoera, Osakue Stevenson: “Video Film and African Social Reality: A Consideration of Nigeria-Ghana Block of West Africa"