Hollywood’s portrayal of East Africa is…shall we say, troubling? Perhaps that’s an understatement, it is a garbage fire of misconception, colonial carryovers and blatantly racist tripe. Just because we try to bring you the best of East African arts doesn’t mean we can’t also name and shame some of the biggest figures in Western film.
So which ones are the worst of the worst? Which of Hollywood’s steaming piles of worthlessness can take the crown as the worst? Additionally; our apologies, most films about East Africa made by the West are made about Kenya (whilst pronouncing it Kiieeeeen-nYA) as all things west of Naivasha are considered a mystery to Hollywood. By the way, these are all post-1980 films; the early day horror shows of Hollywood are clicks for another day.
Here they are, the least woke films about East Africa ever made.
Four: I Dreamed of Africa
This one isn’t higher on the list because it simply wasn’t as prominent, but DAMN.
Damn. I mean, really?
This was made in the the year 2000, but the story and condescending tone could have been made in 1957. It is a visual atrocity, a cultural blot on the entirety of film and a colonial circle jerk of the highest order. It tells of the story of a woman, who’s Italian who buys a ranch in Kenya to ‘challenge herself’ and…you know what? This is so formulaic it isn’t even worth describing. Just name a fucking predictably groan inducing plot turn about ‘Af-RIIII-caH’ and it is most definitely in here.
Watch at your own risk, side effects may include unending tears and loathing.
Three: Gorillas In the Mist
I mean it is just so fucking steeped in ridiculous and outdated tropes. She has to land in the midst of ‘corruption’ in Rwanda, to ‘fight the good fight’ and save the gorillas. None of the credit goes to the Rwandan members of the team, Sigourney Weaver as Jane Goodall is the singular white savior. It romanticizes things that shouldn’t be, and as many films made by Hollywood about East Africa, garnered critical acclaim for its ‘bravery’.
It was outdated in 1988 when it was released, nowadays it is enough to induce and existential depression.
Two: The White Masaai
Have you heard of this book? I mean, can you read the title? Surely, there isn’t much more that needs to be said here. Beware of this film, watching it may lead directly to alcoholism.
One: Out of Africa
This is the most overrated, absymal, racist and condescending film ever to win best picture. It is a veritable love letter to colonialism, is one of the most ridiculous depictions of Kenya in history and features Meryl Streep referring to hundreds of Kenyans as is she ‘owns them’. Binyavanga Wainaina (rest in peace) wrote ‘How to Write About Africa’ with this horrible film at the forefront of his mind. This is the movie that perpetuated a thousand stereotypes, and was rewarded for doing so.