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BlackBerry still has fans in Nigeria

I clicked on YouTube’s play button and waited for the stylish, sassy, sometimes scary clique of upwardly mobile Nigerian women known as the BlackBerry Babes to load on my laptop. And then I waited. And waited. At the time, I was working for an NGO in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where Internet connections rival Canadian dial-up speeds circa 1995.

Finally, the popular Nollywood film series appeared on the screen. Produced in 2011 and 2012, the six low-budget BlackBerry Babes instalments chronicle the absurd social aspirations of four middle-class Nigerian women—a kind of Sex and the City Goes to West Africa. Instead of shoes, though, the women covet Canada’s fashionable hand-helds. In one memorable scene, the incredulous Keisha breaks up with her cash-strapped boyfriend because he won’t buy her the gadget she wants: “Without you buying me the BlackBerry phone, there is no basis for this relationship right now.”

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