I just came across this remarkable African Sci-fi short film called ‘The Day They Came.’ It’s a zero budget 4-minute-long piece which follows a young Nigerian man who strolls outside his house on a calm Sunday morning only to witness the start of an alien invasion à la War of the Worlds. This is apparently the first of a series, and I’m excited to see the upcoming releases. I find particularly fascinating the film’s subversion of the traditional alien encounter set in London or New York and, as in the movie District 9 (2009), relocation to the more familiar geography of a contemporary African city. This short film represents yet another example of the effectiveness of science fiction as a narrative instrument for the next generation of African artists.
Check out the film:
It all began in August 2009 with District 9, the acclaimed blockbuster by South African director Neill Blomkamp about an alien refugee camp. This was followed closely by Pumzi, a short film by Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu about a post-apocalyptic East Africa. Now the largest movie industry in Africa has joined in on the action with the July 2010 release of the sci-fi movie Kajola by Nigerian director Niyi Akinmolayan.
Kajola is the Yoruba word for commonwealth. In the year 2059, Nigeria becomes a totalitarian state. After a second civil war, the rich relocate to the Island areas of Lagos state and turn it into an ultra modern city. The war torn mainland of lagos state is disconnected and abandoned.
A rebel leader, Allen learns of a plot codenamed Kajola to build cities on the mainland and eliminate the remaining survivors. He leads a rebellion against the govt. and must be stopped by Yetunde, the police chief. Though mortal enemies, both discover that everything they thought they knew were nothing but lies. Its a story of love and lust and it heightens the fact that if we don’t deal with the segregation and negligence issues facing the country today, then our future is quite predictable because TOMORROW IS TODAY.
While certainly not a masterpiece in terms of CGI effects, this movie represents one of the few definitive attempts of an African director to break into the science fiction genre. The movie breaks away from traditional Nigerian movie plots, delivering an imaginative vision of a future Nigeria that is as relevant as it is rife with cyberpunk themes. These three movies may well mark the beginning of an exciting new trend in African cinema which only confirms my belief that Africa is cyberpunk.
Watch the Kajola Trailer: