African movies, white protagonists

The Constant Gardener (2005), International murder mystery featuring Ralph Fiennes as naive husband and Rachel Weisz as the beautiful wife, murdered, but why? Show Weisz’s character, playing with children in Kibera slums, or insisting on having her baby in a Nairobi hospital to illustrate her essential goodness. Show benevolent white man with a shady past, working in Somalia’s aid camps to erase the black marks from his soul. Have Fiennes stalked and (spoiler!) murdered in the harsh, bleak wasteland of remotest Kenya and what do you have? Africa as beautiful backdrop, landscapes as metaphors against which the goodness and badness and essential humanity of rich, lily-white characters can be illustrated. Black Africans as complex characters with diverse motivations, interests, and histories? Try another movie son.

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“There was no sun, only a slow ripening of the sky”

Char was kind enough to lend me a book, Uwem Akpan’s “Say You’re One of Them”

This elegantly written, colourful yet understated book tells, through short stories, of the experiences of Africa’s children. Akpan breathes life into the words and thoughts of Jigana, a street kid in Kibera, Yewa and her brother Kotchikpa, Jubril in Northern Nigeria and half-Hutu, half-Tutsi Monique, with a combination of elegant prose and blunt, multilingual dialogue.

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