District 9 and Xenophobia: Art Imitates Life, Life…
District 9, a science fiction film directed by South African-born Neill Blomkamp, was released in 2009 and went on to become an international blockbuster. Nominated for four Oscars, including best picture, it had grossed $210,819,205 (about R2,5-billion) – more than seven times what it cost to make – by the end of 2009.
In the wake of recent attacks on foreigners in South Africa, the film’s allegorical depiction of xenophobia is eerily resonant today.
In a trailer for the film the words “They are not welcome” and “They are not accepted” flash across the screen. “They don’t belong here,” a woman says angrily. “They must just go; I don’t know where, but they must just go,” says a furiously gesticulating man.