Misnaming Africa: Dehumanising Images of Africa in Twelve Years a Slave and The Good Lie





Africa, misnaming, dehumanising images, Twelve Years a Slave, The Good Lie


Since the advent of slavery and colonial rule, Africa has been portrayed as a dark continent, hence slavery and colonialism were said to be on a civilising mission. Colonial administrators were responsible for disseminating ideas that dehumanise Africa. Since the acquiring of freedom of Africans, including those in the diaspora, the media have been used to maintain dichotomies that existed prior to the liberation of Africa. Against this background, the total emancipation of the mind and spirit of Black people on the continent and in the diaspora becomes urgent and inevitable. Deploying Afrocentricity, this paper explores the portrayal of Black people in the movies, Twelve Years a Slave (2003) and The Good Lie (2014). It revolves around interrogating the various images of Black people in the two selected movies. The implications and agenda of such images are discussed. The paper establishes that the way in which Africans are portrayed in the movies is dehumanising. The images border on stultifying representations that seek to subjugate and subvert African humanity and agency. The representation of Africans in the movies is informed by the ideology of Eurocentrism, which maps Europeans as the superior race and Africans and other oppressed peoples of the world as a peripheral race. The movies aim to disempower and induce a sense of self-hatred in people of African descent. The paper concludes that movies can be agents of the miseducation of African people and may inadvertently valorise European people.



How to Cite

Gijimah, Tevedzerai. 2021. “Misnaming Africa: Dehumanising Images of Africa in Twelve Years a Slave and The Good Lie”. Commonwealth Youth and Development 18 (1):22 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2663-6549/8027.



Received 2020-07-01
Accepted 2021-07-12
Published 2021-07-27