6 African Movies That Every Westerner Should See

Thursday, April 26 by John Coon

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Life for the average African is turbulent. A cycle of poverty, disease, warfare and corruption is what greets them each day. Several movies powerfully capture a slice of life on a continent that is still wrapped in mystery in the western world. Africa offers a natural setting for captivating stories because there is so much to draw from the real-life situations there. These six movies offer special insight into the real Africa:

“Hotel Rwanda” (2004):

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Don Cheadle stars in this riveting account of a hotel manager who saves thousands of Tutsis from a Hutu-led genocide in Rwanda. Cheadle gives a stirring performance as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager, who protects a Rwandan minority targeted for massacre in 1994. It offers new insights into the cost of genocide on African families and villages and shows the difference one good man can make in saving thousands of lives.

“The Last King of Scotland” (2006):

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Independence in many African countries has meant trading a colonial master for life under a brutal dictator. This movie chronicles such an instance in Uganda, where Idi Amin ruled as dictator from 1971 to 1979. It focuses on a young doctor from Scotland who becomes Amin’s personal physician and reaches a moral crossroads when he learns of how badly Amin is mistreating the people he rules. Forrest Whittaker won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the corrupt ruler.

“Blood Diamond” (2006):

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Giving your girlfriend an engagement ring takes on a whole new light when you realize the conflicts and hardships created by diamond mining. “Blood Diamond” chronicles the illegal diamond trade in Sierra Leone. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a mercenary in the diamond trade that becomes involved with a local fisherman searching for his son who was abducted to become a child soldier. It gives a stark perspective on the brutal nature of civil war and political unrest in many West African nations.

“Black Hawk Down” (2001):

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In many ways, “Black Hawk Down” offered a sneak preview to the sorts of problems faced by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. It chronicles the true story of a group of soldiers sent into the Somalian capital to capture a warlord. They become pinned down in a street battle when Somali soldiers shoot down their helicopters and converge on the vastly outnumbered American marines. It encapsulates the horrors faced by many Africans each day and brings them home.

District 9” (2009):

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<p>This creative <span data-scayt_word=sci-fi film set in South Africa offers an intriguing allegory on life under apartheid. Aliens stranded on Earth stand-in for the oppressed Africans in this tale. They are segregated from humans in a special district and live under inhumane slums brought on because of fear from the humans around them. A bureaucrat sent to evict aliens from the district begins to experience their plight when contact with a mysterious fluid slowly transforms him into an alien. It brings a new perspective on the dangers of racist thoughts and practices.

“The Gods Must Be Crazy” (1980):

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This South African film comically explores what happens when a Coca-Cola bottle falls from the sky and is discovered by a Bushman. It turns life upside down for his village and he undertakes a quest to throw the bottle off the end of the Earth. The whole story serves as a nice allegory on the changes brought about modern technology.