Hollywood and Africa: Recycling the ‘Dark Continent’ Myth, 1908–2020 | National Inquiry Services Centre

Hollywood and Africa

Hollywood and Africa: Recycling the ‘Dark Continent’ Myth, 1908–2020

Recycling the ‘Dark Continent’ Myth, 1908–2020

By Okaka Opio Dokotum
Size: 168 x 240 mm
Pages: 332 pages
ISBN 13: 978-1-920033-66-8
Published: February 2020
Publishers: NISC (Pty) Ltd for African Humanities Program
Recommended Retail Price: R 325.00
Cover: Paperback

About the book

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Hollywood and Africa - recycling the ‘Dark Continent’ myth, 1908–2020 is a study of over a century of stereotypical Hollywood film productions about Africa. It argues that the myth of the Dark Continent continues to influence Western cultural productions about Africa as a cognitive-based system of knowledge, especially in history, literature and film. 

Hollywood and Africa identifies the ‘colonial mastertext’ of the Dark Continent mythos by providing a historiographic genealogy and context for the term’s development and consolidation. An array of literary and paraliterary film adaptation theories are employed to analyse the deep genetic strands of Hollywood–Africa film adaptations. The mutations of the Dark Continent mythos across time and space are then tracked through the classical, neoclassical and new wave Hollywood–Africa phases in order to illustrate how Hollywood productions about Africa recycle, revise, reframe, reinforce, transpose, interrogate — and even critique — these tropes of Darkest Africa while sustaining the colonial mastertext and rising cyberactivism against Hollywood’s whitewashing of African history.
Reviewer's Comments: 
‘This is an important book that defines the master trope of Africa as the Dark Continent, to show its work in the past and that this mythos is still alive and well in contemporary Hollywood films about Africa[…]Even as it uncovers the continuing Dark Continent motifs, the book also reveals how these films engage contemporary celebrity, military, economic, and political cultures in the development of a neocolonial aesthetic.’
Robert T. Self, English Professor Emeritus, Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, Northern Illinois University, USA

About the Authors

Okaka Opio Dokotum is an associate professor of literature and film and deputy vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs) at Lira University in Uganda. An eclectic multidisciplinary researcher, Dokotum has published extensively in the fields of literature–film adaptation theory, trauma cinema and aesthetics, performative poetics, music video aesthetics, visual history, heritage studies and Ugandan literature. He is a playwright, poet and filmmaker, and has adapted his play Wek Abonyo Kwani [‘Let Abonyo Study’] (2003) into the first feature film in Lëblango/Lwo. Four of his plays and a poetry anthology in Lёblango are taught at secondary school and university levels in Uganda. He is a columnist for Rupiny, a Ugandan Lwo weekly, and serves on the jury of the Uganda Film Festival.


Chapter 1 Constructing the ‘Dark Continent’
Chapter 2 Manifestations of Hollywood’s Africas 
Chapter 3 Ventriloquising the Dark Continent myth 
Chapter 4 Colonial nostalgia 
Chapter 5 Militainment and historical distortion 
Chapter 6 This is ‘a true story!’ 
Chapter 7 Ideological effacement and heroic self-transcendence 173
Chapter 8 Metatextuality in transnational film production 199
Chapter 9 Cyberactivism against ‘whitewashing’ 
Chapter 10 Afro-optimism 
Chapter 11 Afrofuturism 

Order Enquiries

You may contact NISC to purchase this book, however other purchasing options are available. Please see ordering details below:


Order online through from the African Books CollectiveAmazon or order from your local book store.


Order from the African Books Collective.