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Identity in Postmillennial German Films on Africa


Shikuku Emmanuel Tsikhungu

This book is a literary and cultural investigation of the different levels of identity as revealed in German films on and about Africa. Taking sexual, spatial, linguistic and body identities as its core concern, the book elucidates how the contemporary German film narratives on Africa binarize bordeline cultural and geographical identities. While this binarism assigns the metropolitan status to the German, the African is relegated to the margins in the human socio-geocultural aspects. The book contradicts this kind of binary narration as it argues that trans-border identities are fraught with complexities that cannot be simply straitjacketed. It celebrates those moments where the narratives challenge the existing boundaries at the interstice between the North and the South. It further celebrates the moments where the film narratives recognize the complexity of cultures by acknowledging the disruptiveness and continuities of linguistic, cultural, sexual, spatial and body identities especially at the contact zone of Germany and Africa.
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4.0 Sexuality and Representation


4.0Sexual Identity and the Representation of Sexuality

The black skin splits under the racist gaze, displaced into signsof bestiality, genitalia, grotesquerie, which reveals the phobicmyth of the undifferentiated whole white body.1

Racial and colonial factors are significant in the sexual identity and presentation of Africans and Germans especially in the 21st century Germany since legacies of imperial and colonial-inspired knowledge systems have and continue to inform the definition of African sexualities within their social histories. Thus the significance of the filming of African sexuality in the postmillennial age is in a continuum that has roots in Germany’s Enlightenment period, sustained through the middle ages and bloomed in the 19th and 20th century colonialism and holocaust as well as the racial profiling that one sporadically hears of in the 21st century Germany. By searching these histories and literatures, a link between the views, gazes and imaginations of those moments of history to the ideologies that inform the restaging of African sexuality in the contemporary film can be established in the manner that Young advices, ‘…critical accounts of the functioning of film representations should consider the social and historical context within which the textual practice is located…’2

The historical German view of African sexuality is informed by the structure of projections of anxiety whenever the Western world was faced with the question of imaging the Black/African. These projections that have roots in the European Enlightenment age coalesced into the labelling of everything non-white as the...

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