Showing posts with label representation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label representation. Show all posts

Friday, July 27, 2012

"So Many Africans in Greece" and Other Flattering Images

"with so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will be eating food from their own home" - Translation of the tweet that got Voula Papachristou, Greece’s triple-jump champion, barred by the Hellenic Olympic Committee from competing in the London Olympic Games. But when you consider the tweet against the backdrop of the European financial crisis, a TechCrunch commenter had the perfect rejoinder:

No matter how much Edward Said or Stuart Hall you throw at perceptions of Africa impressed on people by the overrepresentation of the sorriest aspects of the continent, you still have to contend with how the amount of economic power a nation wields determines how its image gets treated. For example, a recent LA Times article about the changing tide in Hollywood's portrayal of China attests to images and representations being reframed in order to flatter China's new found economic wealth - and muscle. In a similar way, will we start seeing subtle changes in the Portuguese when it comes to images and perceptions of Angola and Angolans?  Too soon to tell. Old speculations -- here and here-- on how television and advertising will flatter and glamor up blackness--in turn affecting how we think of it--in selling to an emerging black upper class with plenty of disposable income to burn. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Evolution of Nigerian Characters on U.S. Television

Season 8, Ep. 17 of American Dad, comic Wayne Brady plays Tungee (Tunji?), one of those kids in the pictures sent to you by American NGOs/charities in those late night infomercials, asking you to stick the kid's pic on your fridge and send a few cents to the NGO every month so the kid can eat. Anyway, Tungee is all grown up now, and he flies to the U.S to visit his long time pen pal benefactors, Stan and Francine, who thought the kid died ages ago. The twist is how Stan and Francine now find the grown up Tungee's round-the-clock positivity and healthy attitude to life a big turn off for them.

Yep. I think we are beginning to sense subtle changes in the treatment of Nigerian characters actually depicted on U.S. TV screens. References to online scams, corruption and other things Americans have come to know still come up, but all those things have quit being the focus. American TV writers are more aware and are now, indirectly, creating complexity an American audience can digest in such characters by taking what they think makes these character different-- i.e. that sense or illusion of naivete, innocence and authenticity people from the developed world thoroughly enjoy in less developed places--and making it into a mirror and a foil for critiquing American cultural hangups, arrogance or exceptionalism. No better example than in the 2009 episode of Monk (Season 8, ep 2) titled "Monk and the Foreign Man", starring Nigeria-British actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

More changes - here. Follow "supervillians of the modern age" series of posts - here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review of 'The Ticket' : Guinness Nigeria Ad Celebrates a Resilient People, Culture

The Guardian's Chuks Nwanne reviews The Ticket, an international TV commercial by Saatchi & Saatchi - Cape Town, produced by Guinness Nigeria and shot in location within Nigeria with local talents and crew:
When the invitations to the screening of new Guinness TV commercial, The Ticket, were given out to media men, there was little or no detail on what exactly the brewery actually intends to achieve with the new advertisement. No doubt, Guinness has acquired a strong reputation of producing classical commercials that provide consumers with extraordinary experiences.From the epic, long running Michael Power campaign, through to the recent award-winning Sky (My friend Udeme is a great man), Scout (…give a man half a chance and he take it), and more recently Guinness The Match, the brand has shown some level of creativity with their advertisements.

Notwithstanding, to most journalists present at the screening held recently at the Protea Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, this could be another invitation to celebrate foreign creative minds, especially South Africans; this has always been the case with multinationals in Nigeria when it comes to shooting commercials.From the opening scene, the commercial looked very much like the usual foreign work, except for the yellow buses in the package, which is considered a trademark of the city of Lagos. But as the tape rolls further, capturing Lagos bridges, with the usual hustling and bustling scenes typical of Lagos, the picture became clear; this is a TV commercial shot in Nigeria, with Nigerian cast and crew. At this point, the media men adjusted their sitting positions, with their eyes fixed on the screen with rapt attention.
 Read the rest - here/ Full Credits

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dadaab from the Photographer's Perspective

Follow British photographer James Mollison (who admits that in order to pay the bills to fund his other creative projects, does the occasional NGO work) from his studio in Venice, Italy, to Dabaab, Kenya for a photographer's perspective on capturing the faces of the refugees fleeing civil war, drought and famine

... He also follows that Rankin trend of setting up simple backdrops that remove the subject from the chaos that surrounds them to create striking personal portraits that convey the emotion and life that make up the sprawl.

Other hard to forget removal or backdrop devices include Hoek's return to the studio style in Ethiopia or Tepleski's use of water in Ghana.

The Untold Stories Waiting to be Told are Overwhelming

Still on earlier thoughts about who gets to expliot the value of African images, the passage below from Peter Vlam's Gup magazine interview with Marc Prüst, the creative director of just concluded Lagos photo festival, proved insightful:....
...People from the Western world photographing in Africa have a different ‘eye’ than people who are at home in their continent. They see different things. It is like describing an elephant blindfolded. One is touching the trunk and the other the tale. When they describe what they are seeing, you get different descriptions. This some how also goes for the difference between Western and non-Western photographers when we are talking about documentary photography. They tell different stories and that is something I believe you can see during the festival. Very exciting to bring this together.'... I believe that the need for photography as an art form within Africa is big. The demand for African made images is huge, the artistic potential of the African photographers is huge and the untold stories waiting to be told are overwhelming, LagosPhoto can be the center of this kind of developments in the future and it is wonderful to be part of this movement.
More flikr pics. In a recent photo essay, Ghananian photographer Nana Kofi Acquah sees ...

the other connection:
Young African photographers who have broken out of the mould of photographing people in dingy studios in their Sunday clothing, can be seen all over expressing themselves on the internet, some of them even being published in foreign magazines and their photographs being exhibited to mainly western audiences. This change in target consumer for the African photographer, also brings with it the challenge of shaping stories to suit the taste of the new buyer. It is a classic case of whoever pays the piper calls the tune. Add to it the fact that this consumer is financially more capable of supporting photographers; and also comes with a rich history of photography… which means its taste is highly developed and specific. In conclusion, I will state that The African Photographer and the camera are still new neighbours… neighbours who are gradually getting to know each other… and I can only wish them all the best. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Africa: European Films Exploring African Immigration

Reuters' Silvia Aloisi on director Emanuele Crialese's "Terraferma" (Mainland), which screened at the Venice film festival. The film explores how the lives of a fisherman and his family on a remote island off the Sicilian coast are transformed when they rescue a pregnant Ethiopian woman at sea and hide her in their house. Excerpt:
...Crialese decided to make the film in 2009, after reading the story of an African woman who was one of only five survivors on a crammed boat that spent 21 days drifting at sea without assistance before running aground on Lampedusa."I was hypnotized by her face, her expression. She had just been through hell, three weeks at sea, with people who saw them, got close and threw them water and then abandoned them again. And she looked as if she had arrived in heaven," he said. Crialese offered the woman, identified only as Timnit T., the part of the pregnant Ethiopian in Terrafirma, a film which is a clear indictment of the crackdown on illegal immigration by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government and its ill-preparedness in the face of a humanitarian emergency.
"...she looked as if she had arrived in heaven," Crialese's description of the pregnant Ethiopian migrant literally gets painted on screen in another immigration film that screened at Venice. Check out the nude beach meets garden of Eden opening scene of Belgian filmmaker Nicolas Provost's The Invader (starring Burkinabé actor Issaka Sawadogo and Italian actress Stefania Rocca). Tambay's preview - here.

More stuff: an Italian graphic novel about another Ethiopia migrant - here. More or the depiction of racism in Italian cinema - here. More immigration cinema: S&A previews + trailers for Maggie Peren's Color of the Ocean (Germany) and Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre (Finland). Erwin Wagenhofer's Black,Brown and White (Austria)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Africa: DC Comics' Child Soldier, AIDs Orphan and "African Batman"

Above, the final gory page from an other wise well written and scrumptiously drawn first issue of Batwing - the new character, spawned from Bruce Wayne's desire to franchise the Batman name across the globe. Batwing's name is David Zamvimbi from Tinasha in the DRC and he will be wearing the cape for the time being as "Africa's Batman". Batwing Issue #1was part of DC comics' historic relaunch of 52 of its titles last week, resetting those books' clocks back to issue one.

Over at Huff Po, filmmaker Bryan Young interviews Batwing writer Judd Winick, and this time Winick reveals a lot more about how he will be remixing all the available African stereotypes for a Western audience while fleshing out the Batwing character and staying true to Batman's mythos:

Winick on Batwing's origins:
...what could be considered the more political bent is that Batwing is an AIDS orphan. He lost both his parents to AIDS. Which some folks might call that politics. From where we sit, we're just trying to be true to life in Africa right now. In most of the regions, one-fifth of the population is HIV positive or living with AIDS. And there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 million AIDS orphans out there. It rang kind of true to us especially in the Bat universe. Batman himself and most of the other members of the Bat family come from tragic beginnings. That's sort of the motif. That's sort of the opera of it all. It's not like Batwing was out there doing pre-law for a while, starting his own practice, and then decided "Hey, I'll put on a costume and

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Africa: Representation on YouTube

In a 2007-2008 content analysis of YouTube videos featuring the countries Ghana and Kenya, California State University - Northridge Melissa Wall's argues in Africa on YouTube: Musicians, Tourists, Missionaries and Aid Workers (International Communication Gazzette, 2009, 71) that though YouTube is allowing everyday Africans to construct their own representations, a bulk of the videos are more likely to come from westerners. Although these African countries are not represented as chaotic and violent as has often been the case in the past, they continue to be stereotyped. Excerpt from her conclusion:
More broadly, the findings here suggest that YouTube enables the average westerner in particular to become a chronicler of other peoples in faraway lands just as travelers and missionaries ‘discovered’ Africa in previous centuries. Most of these westerners, although not the official voices of the past, do not offer a remedy to the Othering of Africa. Indeed, many of their contributions to YouTube reinforce and naturalize stereotypes. Those videos that feature Africans as the primary actors are almost all generally entertainment oriented often to the exclusion of seemingly more serious content. Why Africans who post videos stick mainly with entertainment content is an important area for future study because entertainment, which tends to be favored by YouTube visitors in general, may well serve as the primary source of information about other countries for many people. Therefore, Africans creating music videos have much more at stake than promoting their careers. Much of the world’s (particularly young people) very vision of their countries may well be in their hands. In conclusion, this examination of a small slice of the world’s largest and bestknown video social networking site does not suggest that a new day has dawned for Africa in terms of the structure and how of global information. What is revealed here is that the age-old inequities still exist and still allow westerners to dominate; although, there is perhaps a broader group of them doing so. That said, YouTub and other such uses of the Internet are providing a small opening for Africans to  create and present their own stories to the world – or at least to the richer corners of it. of it. Whether that opportunity is pursued to provide a more complicated view of the continent’s political, social and economic issues, or whether Africans will see public spaces such as YouTube just as most westerners do – as another form of entertainment – remains to be seen.
YouTubing Africa: Old Patterns and New Possibilities by Melissa Wall (California State University - Northri...

In the Rhodes Journalism Review 28, 2008, Wall adds that in the event of a media covered tumult --i.e. Kenya's 2007 post-election violence--that causes a surge in information about the country on YouTube, older stereotypical videos still get more views:
The volume of additional content combined with the high interest level from visitors to YouTube may well have changed the nation’s image on YouTube – at least for now – from amateur tourist and missionary content along with entertainment videos to news and information. It should be noted, however, if the search is based on number of views, then tourists’ animal videos and music return to the top. Compared to Ghana, which remained fairly static in terms of types of content producers and images over the same time period, this suggests that a crisis may shift the sorts of videos being posted onto YouTube about a particular country or region.
Another unpublished paper does a content analysis of YouTube videos for Community of Portuguese‐speaking African Countries (PALOP)– Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea‐Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Namibia: Language Shaping how we Think - Himbas and Color Perception

The Guardian's Sam Wollaston in his review of the section below from the BBC documentary, Horizon: Do You See What I See, which aired last week:
The language thing was the most extraordinary for me. A scientist travels to northern Namibia to visit the Himba tribe, who have many fewer words for colour and who classify them in completely different ways. He shows them a circle of squares, all green except one which is clearly blue to me and you (unless you're one of my Himba readers). And they can't pick it out, simply because in their language it's the same colour .... 
The Himba might not have a separate word for blue, but watch them select, without breaking a sweat, the different hue of green among other greens English speakers will have a hard time spotting:

Boing Boing has a whole lot more.

Over here, we are interested in the whole notion of language shaping thought structures, especially since most Africans end up having to master many languages. For example, a South African opera singer talks about moving between xhosa, latin and french -  here . Or a recent study that suggests you can shift the responses of Moroccans by simply switching the language (Arabic and French) by which you describe the subject - here.

Like with a whole range of colors, many African languages don't have words for a lot of scientific terms  - an issue blogged here. So its always thrilling to rewatch this '09 video of Ethiopians coming up with Amharic words for the elements on the periodic table:

H/T: Kyle

Friday, July 29, 2011


Charles Burnett's distinguished alumni award acceptance speech at UCLA's Theater, Film and TV commencement 2011  (June 10). He talks about the making of "To Sleep with Anger".

The excerpt below from an old essay on by Ray Carney on "To Sleep with Anger" and Burnett  is still on point:
Yet no doubt the title alone didn't make or break the movie. The larger problem was that Burnett made an African-American film that violated virtually every convention about the depiction of African-Americans on screen. There are no drugs, no gangs, no guns, no policemen, and no hookers. There are no views of urban life, no identifying ethnic patois, costumes, or mannerisms, and no rap or hip-hop scoring on the soundtrack (and not even any references to such realms of experience). Burnett makes us realize the extent to which the African-American experience has been cinematically stereotyped. His characters are not teenage ghetto dwellers with boom boxes on their shoulders, but middle-class mothers and fathers who head stable families, live in well-kept houses in suburban neighborhoods, and care as much about their jobs, their marriages, their children, and their relationships with their neighbors as any white suburbanite does. His film may have an all Black main cast, but in another respect, it represents a breathtakingly color-blind vision of life. Its narrative may be anchored in specific observations about the Black family(and, in particular, the distinctive role of women in it), but its net effect is to suggest that what all families have in common is much more important than the skin colors that distinguish them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Somalia: Malnourished Information

At RNW, Koert Lindijer wrote on the aid industry's understandable panic calls abt the famine in the horn of Africa and the international media binge and coverage of refugee camps and malnourished children taking shape. Meanwhile Benjamin Hennig over at Views of the World produced the map above and asks the media to at least get the big picture of "malnourished children" right:
[The Map] shows each grid cell resized according to the estimated total number of underweight children under the age of five living in that area... The map shows that while we think of some parts of Africa being the worst affected region related to undernourished children, the problem is as pressing in South Asia, and quite considerable in parts of South East Asia. More than 70 percent of the world’s underweight children (aged five or less) live in just 10 countries, with more than 50 per cent located in South Asia alone (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
The Times Editorial Cartoon, July 21 2011. Over at Africa is a Country, Neelika Jayawardane broke the malnourished African children cartoon down:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Africa/ China: "How Africans Want to be Seen Rather than how They are Forced to be Seen"

Watch the April 2011 Beijing photography exhibition: Africa: See You, See Me! tagged Postcolonial African Photography and its Global Influence of Representing Africa and its Diaspora. It includes photographs by Angele Etoundi Essamba (Cameroon), Majida Khattari (Morocco) and Marco Ambrosi (Italy), Mario Macilau (Mozambique)... Over at WSJ Asian Scene blog, Lara Farrar quotes the curator Awam Amkpa:
Africa: See You, See Me!” features the work of 36 African and non-African photographers, including Angele Etoundi Essamba from Cameroon, Moroccan Majida Khattari and Italian Marco Ambrosi. China, which has a growing business presence in Africa, seemed an important place to display the photographs, said Awam Amkpa, the exhibition’s curator, who described the images in the show as an illustration of “how Africans want to be seen rather than how they are forced to be seen.” The Chinese “don’t know the diversity, the robustness of African culture,” Mr. Amkpa, a Nigerian, said. “I think it is an opportunity for us to show this Africa that is a very modern and diverse continent…. We are not always at war. We are not always starving.” (more)
Slideshow of the exhibition - here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Italy: The Rare Heroine in "Gabma Trista"

A 2D children animated film from Italian Studio Mistral about a boy with rubber legs also has the rarest of Italian heroines. Her name is Rose Kebe...

"Bellissima!" awwww. lol. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DRC: Writer Judd Winick on the "African Batman"


In September, DC Comics introduces David Zamvimbi as Batwing, the first black man to be Batman as part of DC Comics mind boggling relaunch of 52 of its titles, re-starting all of them at issue #1.

For those who don't keep up with race and the funny books, DC's PR dept has had some fires to put out lately. Back in May, DC released a map for its Flashpoint mini series. The map labels the African continent as "Ape Controlled." Even before the map came out, 4th Letter blog warned about the whole gorilla Grodd thing:
Seriously DC Comics: get a black friend. Male or female, it doesn’t matter, just get one. We’re easy to find. Get one and then ask him if it’s cool to have Africa ruled by a monkey. Just run it by them, real casual-like. “Hey man, what do you think about this?” If they give you the gasface or their eyebrows narrow… change your plans. How come Africa is always the one continent that someone gets to rule ALL of? No one rules an entire continent in the real world, and Africa has dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct peoples and cultures. I get that treating it as something other than a homogeneous Dark Continent would require, I dunno, opening Wikipedia or something, and that it’s just easier to make up a country with an African sounding name.
Anyway, DC comics now puts the first black man in the cape and cowl, and over at Newsarama, Vaneta Rogers interviews the "Batwing" writer and DC editor, Judd Winick, who sheds more light on where in homogeneous Africa this is taking place. Excerpt:
Nrama: You mentioned a city. Does Batwing have a base of operations? 
Winick: Yes, he's based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his city is called Tinasha, which is a fictional city based on a real city in the country. Africa is a continent, so in comparison, think about Batman in relation to North America, and how often you see Batman in Canada or Mexico. Not often. So in that sense, Batwing will actually be localized to one city and one country in Africa, with some zipping around here and there. 
Nrama: Have you been to the Congo? 
Winick: No, but I'm thinking DC should send me there to check it all out. I think I'd need a month or so to really soak it up.

... and on the approach:
Winick: Yeah. I think the more it was thought about, it makes a bit of a statement. It's the first time that a black man has been Batman. It was a bit of a "eureka" moment, to realize we could actually do Batwing and have him be in Africa. Not bring him to America or something, which we never really considered it. He's an African living in Africa, fighting the fight for his country. It's a truly international book. It shouldn't feel like a book that could just happen in America. I'm hoping this feels like a book that can't happen anywhere but Africa. This is truly an African story. 
Nrama: It totally removes it from that Western view of the world. 
Winick: Yeah, and the volatile nature of this country lends itself really easily to the big superhero stories. Big battles are still being waged there. On this continent you have dictators and warlords and entire armies populated by children. Entire kingdoms being overthrown. These are crazy, insane ideas that are actually happening day-in and day-out, and that's non-fiction. We don't have that here in America. In our superhero stories, we have to create fabrications of criminal organizations and gangsters and battles and wars. But that's part of the fabric of Africa. So for this title, we're going to tap into that in a superheroic way. It's also the cradle of civilization, still fertile and rich and really, in some places, untouched by humanity. So we're hoping to tap into that too.
You get the feeling Batwing is going to be a little of everything you might have wished for and everything you're going to hate. If nothing else, hopefully it keeps that "eureka" light bulb on, passing along to other writers the same realization that every African country has all it takes to support a rich comic narrative and superhero universe.

Monday, June 13, 2011

South Africa: Advertising Development, Cont'd

British animation student Tim Wheatley's Cyclotrope animation--a take on the Zoetrope--gets adapted by Saatchi & Saatchi agency for “Africa is Moving” United Nations HIV/AIDS ads spot below:

See the making and more details over @ Cartoon Brew.

Client: United Nations
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Geneva
Chief Creative Officers: John Pallant & Derek Green
Creative Director: Leon Jacobs
Writer: Fréderic Bry
Art Director: Fréderic Doms
Production Company: 7Films, Cape Town
Director: Wednesday
Producers: Jason Plumbly, Lourens van Rensburg, Ben Kaufmann
Animation consultant: Tim Wheatley (Cyclotrope)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Africa: Ways of Seeing

Read Institute of Commonwealth Studies senior fellow Susan Williams' "Ways of Seeing Africa"  ...

.... an intro to the Journal of the International African Institute's annual African Bibliography 2010 published by Cambridge University Press. Excerpt: 
Who would dare make generalizations about Asia based on Bangladesh? Or about Europe based on Greece?’ The late Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski, who first went to Africa in 1957 and then returned again and again over the next forty years, makes a similar point. ‘Africa is too large to describe’, he observes in his preface to The Shadow of the Sun. ‘It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say “Africa”. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.’ Samson Kambalu, a Malawian author and artist,


A while back at, Catherine Bugayong compared two actresses coming out of obscurity to win best actress Oscar nominations, and their careers since - the comparison makes the case that, apart from the fact that "the number of roles written for white women far outstrip those written for women of color," you also have:
Because roles that are written for women of color or ethnically ambiguous women...often come with a “She should be Caucasian” note on the casting call, regardless. Because white women will be considered for roles written for women of color, but women of color are much more rarely considered for white roles.
On that last point, the video below from the Escapist uses reactions to the recent casting of Idris Elba as a Nordic god in Thor to make the case from another angle:


Solutions? Tambay says stop whining; "put up or shut up", and KMBA points to a new study commissioned by BET, showing, despite what many people think, black film audiences are watching almost exactly what white audiences are watching.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Africa: Dutch Wax Glamour - Clothing and Depicting an African Middle Class

Since 2006, Vlisco, the Holland based maker of quality Dutch Wax print fabrics, has moved itself and its signature prints into the world of high fashion and haute couture. The company's 100-year + history of trading with Africa plus glamor advertising targeted exclusively at the African buyer...

... speaks to the long standing purchasing power of Africa's middle classes, whom an AfDB study released last week referred to as "global consumers" whose spending remained resilient during the global recession, reaching $680 billion in 2008 (pgs 14-15). In the '09 behind the scenes look at the relationship between Africa and the wax print manufacturer below, the company's spokesperson...

People tend to think we produce only for the African market, but they are wrong. Vlisco produces for African consumers wherever they live in Africa, London New York or Tokyo.
Also, when you consider that ads and all forms of marketing, in one iteration or another, make up a considerable portion of representations Africans receive about themselves on a day to day basis, Vlisco's high glamor ads targeted at, and designed to flatter, African consumers (more pics - here/ more ads - here)  becomes ample proof that a marketing landscape responding to growing black economic muscle and clout automatically has a whole lot of positive and glamorous things to tell kids about blackness.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

East Africa: Grey's Anatomy Adorable Kids from Africa Episode

Lots of adorable sick African kids and attempts to speak swahili on last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy (Season 7: Ep. 20). The episode also starred Bambadjan Bamba.

To counter all the cute kids, AWWWWs and beautiful doctors adopting African babies in the episode, we thought Meredith had the best line:

my Alzheimeh trial kicks African orphan ass...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nigeria: Supervillains of the Modern Age, Cont'd

Some dudes with awful accents playing trigger happy Nigerians who kidnap a drug lord's son in a March 21 episode of Chicago Code. Niger Delta representin'. Our archives of Nigerians as super-villians in the media - here.

Rather than protest Nigerian villainy adapted to meet the needs of American TV writing, we'd rather protest  that American TV writers should do their homework and read, for example, Misha Glenny's book, McMafia: Crime Without Frontiers to learn how Nigerian international crime syndicates actually roll:
Yet despite a reputation for ruthlessness, the Nigerians in South Africa (or more accurately the Igbo, who make up between 80 and 90 percent of them) run their criminal gangs, as we've seen, on principles of nonviolence. Into Hillbrow and other parts of South Africa, they have imported an egalitarian system of tribal councils stipulating that territories should not be fought over but agreed upon and discussed. "Arbitration, Not Aggravation" could be their slogan (pg. 185).
We've trashed out some of these points before in an old post on Nigerian super-villainy here. Anyway, awful accents aren't the worst thing that can happen when Nigerians are being depicted--or Nigerians are doing the depicting of other generic Africans--in Hollywood. Recall British-Nigerian actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje playing the African tyrant, Wombosi, in 2002 Bourne Identity? Remember the morgue scene, where on seeing the body switched for Cain's he told his aide in Yoruba, "see, didn't I tell you?"... "you're an idiot". Nollywood's dread awful subtitle writers can smile at that clip because Hollywood really screwed the pooch on the translation as well.

We've always thought that was way worse than awful accents.


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