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The link between Nigerian literature and District 9

17 November 2015, 12:11

A film, District 9, has left a lasting legacy in Nigeria in so many ways, including the fact that the blockbuster movie annoyed many Nigerians.

District 9, a film produced by Sony Pictures and directed by Neill Blomkamp, shows an alien ship land in the South African city of Johannesburg; the aliens are stranded in the city; they are put in a slum. Nigerians in the camp where the aliens are, engage in many ugly things like cannibalism (eating some of the aliens) and prostitution with the aliens.

With an incredible force of criticism, some Nigerians rose against the film, condemning it with an extraordinary badge of patriotism. The
criticism gained popularity among many Nigerians. The former Nigerian minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili banned the film in Nigeria.

Although the film portrays Nigeria in an unthinkable way from the critical viewpoints of many Nigerians, the movie also highlights some aspects of Nigeria: prostitution, the scam popularly called 419 and cannibalism. The producers of the film used the film to show global situations through the prism of science fiction. The film is a science fiction set in South Africa with different characters.

Also Read: Etisalat Prize for Literature announces 2015 longlist

Nigerians were champion critics of the fallen apartheid era of South Africa, which is a reality; and an aspect of the reality of the past era of apartheid is reflected in the film. The verdict of apartheid has long been overturned by the forces and voices of freedom and human rights.

South Africa is carrying the most eloquent banner of development in Africa. It is the only African country in the G20 - the group of twenty most developed economies in the world.

But Nigeria is still wobbling in many areas of its life since its independence from the former colonial lord, Britain. The sexual and criminal misconducts by Nigerians showcased in the film are in Nigerian literature. There are examples of Nigerian literature that depict Nigeria's evils: I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Africa region. It is a high profile story of scam and other social ills. A sophisticated story of Nigerian prostitutes who trade their flesh for money in Belgium was written by Chika Unigwe - the novel On Black Sisters’ Street has received resounding ovation.

The reality on the ground is that many crimes are flourishing in Nigeria due to hardship, waste of abundant resources and a host of
other worrying factors. The work of art is also to expose the good and the bad faces of the society and not to hide them. Literature faces an uphill battle in its mandate to mirror the society, as the stake is very high.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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