We’ll have to see the film first before judging it (its main focus is the angst of a white South African), but here’s what the people living in the slum where “District 9” was filmed, are saying:

The movie, District 9 , was the most popular box-office smash in North America last week. It was filmed among the decrepit shacks and garbage of her Soweto squatter camp, known as Chiawelo, which it portrays as a grim refugee camp for stranded aliens from outer space. The movie depicts this neighbourhood, on the outskirts of Johannesburg’s skyscrapers, as a desperate place of segregation, where the aliens are housed in tiny shacks behind barbed wire to keep them away from polite society. Almost all of the shacks in the movie are the actual homes where Chiawelo’s residents were living. Others might feel insulted if they discovered that millions of moviegoers were seeing their neighbourhood portrayed as the worst place on the planet, a place so shockingly horrible that only aliens could survive there. But the impoverished South Africans who still live in Chiawelo are unperturbed by how the film exploited their homes. Instead, they are cheering the film’s success, hoping it will embarrass and shame the government into long-overdue action.

Globe and Mail.

Further Reading

Blind to the matatus

The future of Kenya’s matatus (commuter buses) and their inherent place in the capital Nairobi’s culture and society, is all but absent in the government’s neoliberal vision for urban planning.