By BENJAMIN NJOKU
The Director-General of the National Film and Video Censors Board, Ms Patricia Bala, has challenged African filmmakers to correct the negative misrepresentations of Africa and its culture using the medium of the tube.
Bala made this call recently in London at the African Film and Academy Global Awards (ZAFAA), while delivering a paper on African Culture in World Pictures. She stated that Africa for a long time has suffered a systematic trend of misrepresentation of its cultures in world pictures.
According to her, despite Africa being the “cradle of civilization with its family traditions, music and the social patterns of its cultures, misinformation about Africa has become a growth industry.” Bala therefore challenged African filmmakers to rise up and expose what she described as “patterns of misrepresentations, which in turn deepen stereotypes or generalizations about Africa.”
To the world public, some of the images of Africa include, the dark continent comprising of uncivilized peoples who are culturally, intellectually, politically and technically backward, crisis ridden and the poorest and least developed of all regions. She regretted that in this day and age, Africa is painted and depicted in the pictures of heathen peoples and thrive in backward traditions and practices, superstitions as well as outdated and repugnant rites.
“These pictures are of course inaccurate and fixated reality with several true missing images,” the director general declared.
Bala blamed the misrepresentations on commercial propriety interests and the monopoly enjoyed by those who control the major platforms for pushing these pictures to the rest of the world.
While frowning at the actions of some African filmmakers as a disservice and distasteful for perpetuating these misrepresentations of African culture in world pictures, she urged them to re-invent and rewrite the region’s profile in world pictures.
According to her, it is only when this is done that Africa can re-engage the world on its own terms. Bala thereafter called on African filmmakers to capitalize on the major windows of competitive advantage by investing in the distribution of movies in Nigeria.