Visions of Africa and Africans Expository Essay
The Westerners’ visions of Africa and Africans are based on the developed stereotypes about the particular features of living at the continent. These stereotypes can be discussed according to the first associations which people have while speaking about Africa. These associations are often negative in their nature.Visions of Africa and Africans Expository Essay
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That is why, it is important to focus on the ways in which Africa and Africans are represented by non-Africans in the media and movies. Although there are many issues associated with the theme of the life in Africa, writers and filmmakers are inclined to concentrate on such problems as colonization, genocide, the question of the cultural and ethnical identity, the abuse of human rights, and their representation of the problem generally shape the audience’s attitude to it.Visions of Africa and Africans Expository Essay
Africans are traditionally represented by the Westerners as the oppressed nation, in spite of the fact Africa is a continent, and all its nations and ethnicities suffer from their specific problems, social and political issues. Today, the information about the African countries which is presented in the media supports the developed vision that Africa is the place where people live in poverty, suffering from authoritarian political regimes and financial corruption (Mahadeo & McKinney, 2007).
This vision is also reflected in the movie Hotel Rwanda (2004) directed by Terry George. Depicting the situation of political tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi, the filmmakers concentrate on their discussion of the problem, but not on the real situation in the country in 1994. The Tutsis are presented as the victims of genocide, and the Huntu as their oppressors and killers. However, some points can be discussed as controversial for examining the impact of the movie on the vision of Africans.
Perceiving the Huntu people as oppressors, it is rather difficult to analyze the truthfulness of the character’s phrase in the movie, “the Tutsi were collaborators for the Belgian colonists, they stole our Hutu land, they whipped us …They are cockroaches. They are murderers. Rwanda is our Hutu land. We are the majority. They are a minority of traitors and invaders” (Hotel Rwanda, 2004). Moreover, the vision of the African countries as non-civilized is in contrast to the discussion of some of them as ruled by strict military organizations.Visions of Africa and Africans Expository Essay
Furthermore, Africa was traditionally presented in the movies as the paradise lost. Africans who lived according to the laws of the nature were discussed as primitive, but rather enigmatic in contrast to the civilized whites who came to colonize these lands and impose civilization on Africans (Bickford-Smith, 2007). It would be possible to think about Africans as people who need to be taught and educated according to the Western patterns because of a kind of their backwardness.
Thus, the Westerners’ vision of Africans as the ‘others’ is presented in The Constant Gardener (2005) directed by Fernando Meirelles. The Kenya’s population is discussed as the sample for testing new drugs which have the harmful side effects. These effects are known, but the drugs are proposed to the poor Africans as a kind of free help. As a result, Africans become the victims of the Westerners’ inhumane actions (The Constant Gardener, 2005).Visions of Africa and Africans Expository Essay
From this point, Africans are depicted as more civilized and morally developed than the Westerners. This movie presents the vision of Africans as discriminated by the whites because of the racist ideas. Thus, this dramatic presentation is opposed to the lyric and romantic vision of colonization and its effects depicted in such movies as Out of Africa.
There is no single way to depict Africa and Africans in the media, books, and movies by Non-Africans because there are several approaches to the vision of Africans and particular features of their life. It is possible to depict Africans as the people who close to the nature and live in the ‘lost paradise’. However, it is also possible to discuss Africans as primitive humans who are historically oppressed by the whites during the period of colonization and even today.
On the one hand, Africans can be portrayed as disorganized people suffering from poverty because of their lack of civilization. On the other hand, certain African countries are ruled by military organizations, and their basic principle is discipline. Thus, non-Africans have to base their visions of Africa and its realities with references to these opposed viewpoints and make their own conclusions.
Bickford-Smith, V. (2007). Black + White in colour. USA: James Currey Publishers. Hotel Rwanda [Video file] (2004). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395169/
Mahadeo, M. & McKinney, J. (2007). Media representations of Africa: Still the same old story? Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, 4, 14-20.