District 9 and Apartheid in South Africa

1700 Words7 Pages
District 9, a science fiction movie directed by Neil Blomkamp and produced by

Peter Jackson, is an action movie throughout. One could view the entire film without

noticing any sort of metaphorical depth, and simply enjoy District 9 based on the merits

of its wonderful visual effects, gore, vulgarity, and fast-paced content. In order to

achieve this blissful nirvana, the viewer would have to empty his mind of any knowledge

regarding the South African apartheid. The apartheid metaphor is so thoroughly

imprinted onto the plot, visuals, and characters of the movie, that anybody who has

studied South African history to any extent would be remiss not to take notice. The

presence of this metaphor attempts to create one of the hallmarks of good science

fiction: depth and meaning.

Classical science fiction often creates a metaphor for contemporary society. This

sort of story uses the science fiction setting as a protected soapbox from which

criticisms about modern culture can be made. George Orwell’s 1984 is perhaps the

most famous example of this, but more ordinary sci-fi comments also: popular shows

like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica contain themes and messages that have clear

parallels to current events. District 9 is a movie with such a message, and its message

is about apartheid.

Director Neil Blomkamp is originally from South Africa, where District 9 takes

place. Blomkamp has said about the apartheid, “It all had a huge impact on me: the

white government and the paramilitary police [and] the oppressive, iron-fisted military

environment” (Qtd. By Lee). All of the themes Blomkamp has mentioned are very

strongly integrated into District 9, especially apartheid. The apartheid in ...

... middle of paper ...

...ff. "King Kong Faces Racism Charge." Altermedia news U.S.A. 18 Dec. 2005.

Web. 18 Nov. 2009.

District 9. Dir. Neil Blomkamp. Perf. Sharlto Copley. Sony Pictures, 2009. DVD.

Ebert, Roger. "District 9." Rev. of Movie. Sun Times [Seattle] 13 Aug. 2009. Web. 10

Nov. 2009.

King Kong. Dir. Peter Jackson. Perf. Adrien Brody, Jack Black, Naomi Watts. Universal

Studios, 2009. DVD.

Lee, Chris. "'District 9' and the alienation of apartheid." LATimes.com. 3 Aug. 2009.

Web. 12 Nov. 2009.


"Nigeria denounces District 9 movie." CBC News. 19 Sept. 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2009.


Terman, Lewis M. The Measurement of Intelligence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916.

Open Document