Text in Online-Magazin

Januar 2010

In “You are not welcome here”. Of post-apartheid negrophobia, and real aliens in Blomkamp’s District 9 (gemeinsam mit Henriette Gunkel). In: darkmatter. in the ruins of imperial culture, No. 6, January/February 2010 (reprint as article in general issue 7, July 2011, peer reviewed) erläutern wir, warum District 9 eine aussergewöhnliche, aufrichtige Kritik an der postkolonialen Gesellschaft Südafrikas darstellt. Dies aber zum hohen Preis, insbesondere Afrikaner aus anderen afrikanischen Staaten (Nigerianer) als blinden Fleck zu behandeln. Wir demonstrieren zudem, dass D9, der von den einen als grandioser Vertreter des New African Cinema interpretiert, von anderen als “just another racist movie” abqualifiziert wird, gerade deshalb weltweit so erfolgreich ist, weil er Dichotomien wie “real” - “fiktiv”, “dokumentarisch” - “fiktional”, Identität-Differenz konstruktiv aufbricht und sich zudem keinem Genre eindeutig zuordnen lässt.

When District 9 (D9) was released in August 2009, the film was an immediate box office hit in several countries. This was much to the surprise of critics, reviewers and bloggers, who seemed astonished by the fact that a science fiction film with this impact could originate from South Africa. Internet forum discussions and an E-Symposium emerged as a response to the film, which continues to be the subject of controversial discussion. While many celebrate the film in relation to the ‘generic’ genre of Science Fiction as a promising representative of a thriving African Cinema, others reject the film on the basis of its socio-political message, as yet another racist movie about Africa – with reference to the depiction of both ‘the Nigerians’ and the aliens. In this article, we would like to move beyond a crudely metaphorical reading of representation (‘the aliens stand for X in reality’), and explore the degree to which the film foregrounds its own mediality. This focus moves us beyond a polarizing position that immediately rejects the film as racist, and allows us to engage with a complex and original text unlike so many other films that take ‘Africa’ as their subject.