Namibian Premieres of 1952-Classic “Toxi” and “Yellow Fever”
The last two films to be screened by AfricAvenir this year are the full-length German feature film, Toxi, and the Kenyan short film, Yellow Fever. The post-war “Toxi” (1952) by Robert A. Stemmle, will be shown in Namibia for the first time on Saturday, 29 November 2014, 19:00, at the Goethe Centre in Windhoek. Kenya’s short animation movie “Yellow Fever” (2012), by Ng’endo Mukii will be the curtain raiser.
Yellow Fever (short 7 min)
Dir: Ng’endo Mukii, Kenya, 2012, Original (Swahili/English)
Toxi (main film 88 min)
Dir: Robert A. Stemmle, Germany, 1952, (German with English subtitles)
Date: Saturday, 29.November 2012, 19:00
Venue: Goethe-Centre, Fidel Castro St. 1, Windhoek
The ideal of fair skin tempts many girls and women in Africa to make painful attempts to change their appearance. This film the condition of feeling insufficient in an exciting mix of collage, animation and dance, ingeniously addressing the racist causes of this feeling of inferiority and their reinforcement by today’s mass media .Through memories and interviews, Yellow Fever reflects on the effect globalization is having on the African woman’s understanding of beauty.
Yellow Fever has received eight awards.
“Toxi” tells the story of a five-year-old girl who suddenly appears on the doorstep of a well-to-do Hamburg family. The members of the multi-generational, white household react differently to the arrival of Toxi, who is Black, the daughter of an African-American G.I. and a white German woman who has died. As one of the first and most successful films to directly tackle the problem of “race” in post-fascist Germany, Toxi arguably has been instrumental in the (re)construction of the German nation as exclusively white and hit the box offices exactly when the first generation of the so-called “Black Occupation Children” began entering German schools, creating a public awareness of this situation.
Director Robert A. Stemmle effectively details the prejudices existing in Germany against mixed marriages, as well as against the children produced by these partnerships. In a series of extremely well scripted scenes, various German positions on “race” and racism are discussed with remarkable honesty and candor. Just as young Toxi has worked her way into the hearts of this German family, a resolution of sorts appears: her American father returns, hoping to take Toxi back with him.
Noted German scholar, Heide Fehrenbach said “By the time that Black German children reached puberty, these earlier discussions were muted, and “race” was on its way to becoming a taboo topic. This resulted in a silencing of public discussions regarding the role of “race” in German society and identity.
What is more, it authorized a cultural atmosphere of “racial” exclusivity in defining the nation. However, membership in the nation was culturally imagined (and until a few years ago, to a large extent legally prescribed) as the more exclusive domain of homogenous whiteness. This has left little space—social or psychological—for German Citizens of Colour who, to borrow from W. E. B. DuBois, daily feel the “doubleness” of their lives as Blacks and Germans in a hostile, or at best, indifferent society that is their own.”