Ten cosy Nigerian romcoms to read and watch this Valentine

With Valentine’s Day drawing near and romance blooming everywhere, it’s the perfect time to dive into the charming and heartwarming genre of romcoms. For both movie buffs and book lovers, we’ve handpicked a list of 10 captivating Nigerian romcoms that are sure to fill your heart with joy and bring a smile to your face.

From classic films to charming novels, these stories traverse the realms of love, laughter, and everything in between. So grab your popcorn or your favourite book and snuggle up with a cosy blanket.

Movies

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, it’s the perfect time to kick back with romcoms. They’re like a mini holiday for your heart, packed with those ‘aww’ moments and cute, laugh-out-loud scenes. Picture yourself with some popcorn, chilling on the couch, getting lost in stories where love finds its way in the quirkiest situations. Watching a romcom is just the right mood for the season, filling your evening with a sprinkle of romance and a whole lot of feel-good vibes.

When Love Happens

When Love Happens - romcoms

In this riveting romcom, Weruche Opia plays the role of a successful events planner and matchmaker for her friends. Though she can match-make friends, she has yet to find a match for herself. The movie takes us through Mo’s many unsuccessful attempts to find love. “When Love Happens” is a refreshing take on modern romance. Its witty dialogues and thoughtful characters will leave you laughing and cheesing.

Isoken

Isoken (2017) - romcoms

Directed by the spectacular Jade Osiberu,” Isoken” tells the story of Isoken, played by Dakore Egbuson Akande, a successful and beautiful woman in her 30s who, despite her accomplishments, faces societal pressure to get married. Her mother pushes her to start a relationship with a Nigerian entrepreneur, but she ends up being drawn to a White man. As Isoken navigates the complexities of her love life, the film skilfully explores cultural dynamics, family ties, and the challenges of breaking away from societal norms. With a perfect blend of humour, heart, and a strong ensemble cast, “Isoken” takes us on a journey of self-discovery, love, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a must-see this Valentine.

The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2017) - romcoms

Get ready for a cinematic rollercoaster of love, laughter, and culinary chaos with “The Royal Hibiscus Hotel,” The film is centred on Ope (Zainab Balogun), a young chef in London who returns to Nigeria to revitalise her family’s struggling hotel. However, she gets distracted by the cup of hot chocolate that is Deji (Kenneth Okolie), a sous chef who, unbeknownst to her, wants to buy the hotel. The film combines love, culture, and humour to create a heartwarming narrative. The Royal Hibiscus Hotel” is the perfect ingredient for a fun-filled, heartwarming night of binging romcoms.

The Wedding Party

The Wedding Party (2016) - romcoms

Have you ever wondered what a Nigerian wedding party looks like? Then it’s time to see this chaotic but cheesy romcom played by Nollywood sweethearts Banky Wellington and Adesua Etomi. The film revolves around the union of Dunnie and Dozie, two lovebirds from different backgrounds. Chaos ensues as their families collide during wedding preparations, creating a perfect storm of humour and unexpected mishaps. The film’s energetic pace and charismatic ensemble cast, including the hilarious Sola Sobowale and Alibaba, infuse the narrative with infectious charm. Ensure you have tissues beside you because you might shed tears, especially during Dozie’s declaration.

Love in a Pandemic

Love in a Pandemic (2023) - IMDb

Film One

“Love in a Pandemic” takes us back to one of the most unforgettable periods in human history: the Covid 19 pandemic. The story revolves around Bolanle (Nancy Isime), a customer service agent who encounters Alex (Deyemi Okanlawon) when she misdials her boyfriend’s number. The encounter leads to a blossoming friendship, and feelings creep in. The film entertains and offers a poignant reflection on the human spirit’s ability to seek and find love, even in the most challenging circumstances. To be honest, we are just like Bolanle. One thing about us: we must fall in love!

Books

As Valentine’s Day nears, there’s nothing quite like cosying up with a romcom novel. These books are like a warm hug, filled with sweet, funny moments and stories of love that make you smile. Whether you’re snuggling under a blanket or lounging in your favourite chill spot, diving into romcoms is like stepping into a world where love pops up in the most surprising ways. It’s the perfect vibe for Valentine’s, giving you a dose of romance and maybe sparking some daydreams about your own love story.

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola via Instagram

If you are a fan of the enemies-to-lovers and fake dating trope, this one’s for you. Kiki Banjo is the host of the Whitewell’s popular radio show, “Brown Sugar.” She has no interest in love and spends most of her radio show listing men the girls on campus should avoid. However, things take a different turn when she finds herself in a fake relationship with Malakai Korede, one of the men on her ban list, and they are forced to spend time together. Kiki’s unexpectedly enjoyable study sessions and private, late-night conversations at retro diners with Malakai push her to see past her assumptions. Is she prepared to let something more intimate into her life? “Honey and Spice” is a brilliantly funny and sparkling novel that will have you in stitches. It’s packed with compelling tension and romantic intrigue.

5 Days to Valentine by Simioluwa Kunle-Oni

Simioluwa Kunle-Oni via Instagram

This is the perfect Valentine’s Day read because it is a short story. It is about Yinka and Femi, two young people who, in a short period, develop feelings for each other. They slowly enjoy each other’s presence, silence, and entire existence. If you are an avid Instagram or Medium user, you must have encountered one of Simioluwa’s short stories. She is everybody’s favourite writer simply because of how well she captures emotion in her writing and how reading it transports the reader to the characters’ locations and moments – exactly what we look for in romcoms.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi via Instagram

In this novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss, New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi reimagines the love story in a captivating way. Feyi Adekola is the protagonist in this story. Five years after losing her partner, she is ready to shake off the grief. She becomes an artist with her studio and starts dating the ideal guy. But their newfound passion could be destroyed before it even gets a chance because of the dangerous rush she gets whenever she sets eyes on the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. Feyi’s new life has become much more complex, and she needs to start looking for the truth. Who is she prepared to become?  And what lengths will she go to to give love another chance?

Broken: Not a Halal Lovestory by Fatima Bala

Amazon

“Opposites attract”  is another trope we love, and Fatima Bala nails it in this novel. Fa’iza Mohammed was raised in a very sheltered Muslim household. When she moves to Toronto for university, she falls in love with Ahmad Babangida, who is different from her. Ahmad Babangida believes everything is a construct, including society and religion. According to him, culture and religion mould people into obedient sheep. Their attraction to each other doesn’t help, as distinguishing between haram and halal is harder. It’s a witty story of imperfect love and will give you butterflies.

Love in Color by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola via Instagram

This is a delightful collection of reimagined folktales. In this book, you see the Nigerian goddess Osun, who longs to be seen after being unappreciated by Sango. Yaa, a Ghanaian goddess, has to choose between her family and her heart. Bolu Babalola takes us into a world where these gods and goddesses are humanised and dabble in romance. She brings a new detail and vivacity to mythology. The stories are laced with angsty romance and comedy. It is one of the best debuts we have seen in a while.

That’s all, folks! We hope these romcoms add a touch of joy and romance to your Valentine. Cheers to love, laughter, and happiness ever after.

Author

  • Praise Vandeh

    Praise Okeoghene Vandeh is a Culture writer with a Bachelors degree in History and International Studies. She is also a Nora Ephron alumnus. Praise is a feminist who is passionate about women causes and has founded a non profit called Project Give The Girls which aims at eradicating period poverty. When she is not writing or advocating for women’s rights, you can find her reading, watching sitcoms or bantering on twitter.

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