The Nigerian Ministry of Culture Reads The L

09/22/2009 1:25 PM |

Neil Blomkamps District 9

Neil Blomkamp’s District 9, about aliens in South Africa treated to an apartheid-esque system of segregation and disenfranchisement, portrays marginal Nigerians as “Oz-style hoo-doo gangsters” and cannibals. Reviewing it last month, I wrote “if I were Nigerian, I’d be all like, What the fuck?”

Now the Nigerian government is all like, What the fuck?

After a private screening last week for government officials, the Nigerian minister of information has asked theaters to stop screening the film. (“Ask” might be a polite euphemism; the BBC reports the film and video censors’ board has been ordered to confiscate the movie.) She’s also asking for an apology and for references to Nigeria to be edited out—especially negative references to the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The censorship crosses a line that sadly serves only to reinforce prejudicial views of Nigerians as backwards anti-democrats. Still, Nigerians have good cause to protest, and it’s difficult to defend the general racism that pervades District 9. The actor who plays the Nigerian gang leader tried to offer an apologia to the BBC. “It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”

One Comment

  • As a Nigerian, I feel extremely offended by the movie. They used the name of our former president as the main ganster in the movie (What a joke and insult). They slightly changed the name, but the intent of the movie was clear. It would be as if someone said Ronald Reagan was a gangster, and used Ronild Raygan for the name in the movie. Dumb Ass Movie!! if you asked me. The movie comes as no surprise to Nigerians and other Africans because South Africa loves to oustracize it’s neighbors. There has always been a healthy competition between Nigeria and South Africa, but this one crosses the line. Big time!! I should remind our South African brothers that when the World turned a blind eye to what was going on in South Africa, Nigeria spent billion of dollars of its own wealth to lead the African Campaign to free South Africa from the Apartheid injustice, but for some reason South Africans choose to repay Nigeria with such a disturbing movie. Healthy competition and cooperation between both countries will lead to the overall improvement to both economies, and Africa in general, but when you spit in the face of your brother, then it is a different matter..

    Nigeria is a great nation. We are good people who happen to have a small percentage of bad eggs like other nations, but with a population over 160 million, and the most populated black nation on earth, it only takes a few to give the many a bad name. Let’s remember that.