True and False Portrayals of Africa | TeenInk

True and False Portrayals of Africa

December 13, 2017
By maf_santos BRONZE, Luanda, Other
maf_santos BRONZE, Luanda, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“All poor people ain’t black/ and all black people ain’t poor.”  -  African-American proverb.  This quote is one of the many examples of how foreigners of Africa consider africans to be like and it makes people question this quote even though it is true. There are white people who are poor and who do not have a house and there are black people who have a lot more than white people. Colour is exactly just that, a colour. Here are some examples of the way popular movie trailers portray Africa.


The movie trailer called “Beyond the Gates” shows a very small and crowded village which is not wrong about what some parts of Africa look like although there is more to the country than just villages. Europeans  have houses in villages but they also have houses in  big and famous cities which exist in the same country. As you can see it is not just because there are villages in some parts of a continent that means that there are no cities. In this movie trailer there is a war that starts although there are white people in the movie as well which have a private teaching section with some people from the village. The gate that separates the war from them is closed when the war starts. This gate does not only separate them but it also ends people’s hope of surviving and of seeing the loved ones that stayed on the side of the war.


This gate demonstrates two very common stereotypes which are war and misery. There are definitely some countries in Africa that are at war and that does cause misery but as well as those there are countries which have not been at war in years such as some countries in the South: Angola, Namibia, South Africa, etc. In the movie one of the white people left to the side of the gate where the war was happening and he thought that he should go and save people who were there.  “How much would you risk to make a difference?”  - this question is asked on the movie trailer which sends a message to the people watching this movie that Africans depend on foreigner’s help and that they can’t take care of themselves which is absolutely not true. They do not mind to have help as long as they are treated as equals and not as inferiors.


There is another movie trailer called “War Witch” which is about a girl who was younger than the age of sixteen. This girl had to runaway from her house and leave everything behind because of the war that was about to start. During the war she learned how to protect herself and older people who she encountered helped her during this war. When the war ended she was the only survivor from it which is why everyone believed she was a witch and took great care of her when they found her.


This movie has two stereotypes although the second one is not very usual but it is also a very common stereotype amongst the southern parts of Africa which is the believing of the supernatural. There are other places in the world where people believe in it but it is very uncommon and the people that do believe in it are called crazy but not in Africa. Africans and expats who live there are open about those type of beliefs. Those who do not believe in the supernatural respect it and the people who do believe in the supernatural respect who does not. The other stereotype that is present in the movie trailer is that there is always a war or an internal conflict in African countries and that is pretty much what the whole movie trailer revolves around. The difference on this movie is that there is no white saviour during this war which does contradict that stereotype.What Africans need is for there to be more respect and more equality than anything else. They would appreciate people’s help but more if it were in an equal range and not as if they are not able to sustain themselves.


The third movie trailer that was chosen is “Totsi”. This movie trailer takes place in South Africa and it is about how the protagonist who is black has to steal to be able to eat and have clothes on his body, how he is a complete criminal. This movie trailer is also about how the protagonist has no fixed home which makes him have to find a different place to sleep every night. While all of this is going on he has adventures with his friend. He finds someone who he is finally able to love and trust and he has a little kid that he is very caring with and is able to take care of him taking into consideration his situation.


In this movie trailer there is the stereotype that Africans are criminals and that they do not have a home. This is not true because there are a lot of expats who live in Africa and they have never been robbed. Not all Africans are criminals and the ones who are do not do it because they want to or because they find it fun, they do it because they feel like there is no other way that they would be able to survive. The criminal side to this movie trailer is to show others  that people steal not because it’s fun but because they don’t feel like they have another option and maybe because when they did try to work people just did not accepted them. Africa is not the only continent that you will find that has homeless, in every other continent there are homeless people therefore foreigners should start to associate Africa with that this is because even the expats feel completely ashamed of the people that live where they come from.

In the three movie trailers that have been discussed about there are examples of some common stereotypes that people believe in when it comes to Africa and Africans. What most people only think applies to Africa also exists in other continents although as there are so many negative stereotypes about African people they tend to turn a blind eye on what is happening in their own continent or for some reason think that it is a lot more common and worse in Africa when it is not. It is just as bad in any place. There are a lot of poor homeless people in Europe although the fact that those homeless people usually hide themselves from the rest may be why people think that it is not as common.


All continents are equal to each other, they all have the same problems. Some countries may have a few more problems than others although it is not only one continent alone that has everyones problems.


Zara, Nina. "Top 50 Movies Set in Africa You Have to See." Safaris & Adventures
     to Africa, edited by Nina Zara, 17 Oct. 2015. Accessed 4 Dec. 2017.
African-American proverb. Pinimg,
     Accessed 13 Dec. 2017.

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