District 9 provides some insight into South Africa’s current Immigration Crisis.
In District 9, we are taken into the belly of a Black South African Government Programme to relocate a Race of Prawn Aliens unexpectedly stranded in South Africa from their current location in District 9, a Military-Protected Slum in Johannesburg, to a new Concentration Camp outside Johannesburg.
The presence of the Prawns in District 9 ignites an Immigration Crisis that the South African Government has been forced to deal with alone since the outside world shows little interest in South Africa’s extra-terrestrial problem.
As a result, ordinary South Africans question the commitment of the South African Government to the welfare of South Africans because of the resources spent on providing assistance to the Prawns by the South African Government as it desperately attempts to deal with the Prawn Immigrant Crisis.
28 years after the arrival of the Prawns, the South African Government Privatizes the Alien problem when it assigns District 9 to Multi-National United (MNU), a Private Company hoping to make huge profits by adapting the Prawns’ superior weapons for human use.
Its secret experiments using abducted Prawns have so far failed.
An MNU Officer, Wikus van der Merwe, is placed in charge of the relocation operation with assistance from an MNU Private Security squad.
During the relocation operation, Wikus gets exposed to a black liquid from a Prawn device.
Wikus begins to mutate into a Prawn, and shortly afterwards MNU Scientists realise that he can now operate the Prawn Weapons because of his exposure to Alien DNA from the Prawn device.
This places MNU in the position of reaping huge profits in the Arms industry.
Some scenes of the MNU Operation depicted in District 9 have been described as racist with District 9 being banned in Nigeria because of its portrayal of the Nigerians and Africans in District 9 who are competing with MNU to acquire the Prawn Weapons technology in the District 9 Slum as bloodthirsty Cannibals.
District 9 On The Immigration Crisis In South Africa
In the final analysis, themes of Racism and Xenophobia are explored in District 9 which speak to South Africa’s current Immigration Crisis.
The rise of anti-migrant movements like Operation Dudula after the 2021 Durban Riots reflects the same sort of social tension the presence of the Prawns causes in District 9.
Pressure also continues to mount on the South African Government especially since the outbreak of illegal Gold Miner Wars between migrant gangs fighting for control of abandoned gold mines in South Africa.
Much like the South African Government in District 9, the present South African Government is also largely left to deal with its Immigration Crisis by the rest of the world despite the fact that South Africa is faced with its own challenges of addressing the Social and Economic disparities wreaked by Apartheid.
Increasingly, due to the priority that must be given to South Africa’s own Post-Apartheid domestic issues, the already strained South African Government may be unable to allocate more resources towards resolving South Africa’s Immigration Crisis.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen how South Africa’s Immigration Crisis can be resolved, but District 9 reminds us of the worst possible outcome especially if a Privatisation solution is adopted.
Niell Blomkamp directed District 9 which did well at the Box Office on its release, grossing in excess of $200 million with a budget of $30 million.
In 2010, District 9 received Oscar nominations in four categories: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Editing and Best Visual Effects.
There are rumours of a District 9 sequel, and it will be interesting to see how the sequel builds on the original in addition to addressing criticisms like Racial stereotyping.