Die self as 'n hibridiese ander : 'n postkoloniale perspektief op die hoofkarakter in die film District 9
Le Grange, Theresa
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This dissertation presents an investigation into the identity transformation of the character of Wikus van der Merwe, the protagonist of the film District 9 (2009), from a postcolonial perspective. In the first instance, I argue that the film can be regarded as an allegory of the apartheid era in South Africa, and that the marginalised aliens in the film can therefore be seen as metaphorically representing the suppressed races of the apartheid era. The humans and aliens in the film are initially represented as binary opposites of each other: the humans are positioned as the normative in-group diametrically opposite the aliens, who are regarded as the non-normative out-group. In its ideological context, apartheid can also be understood as a type of colonialism. Like those who were marginalised by colonial practices, the aliens in the film are regarded as the other, mainly because of their physical, corporeal otherness. In the film Wikus experiences a bodily as well as an emotional transformation - and thus also an identity transformation – from a normative, Afrikaans-speaking white male (the self) into a non-normative and strange-looking alien (other) – with reference here to how normativity and otherness were conceptualised in the context of apartheid. Consequently, Wikus’ metamorphosis results in a hybrid figure, which demonstrates that the boundaries between self and other are permeable. Wikus’ unique identity as both self and other, as well as his increased self-awareness, illustrates his new identity position in an in-between space in which the self and other can be both, ironically, accommodated and destabilised. This dissertation demonstrates how the notion of hybridity (which is a key concept in postcolonial discourse) in the film works to destabilise the discourse of the self and other, and in this way hints at the possibility of a broader identity platform where all identities are validated.
- Humanities