The Shadows of “50 Shades of Grey ” in Africa


By now, most people would have heard about the movie adaptation of the distasteful erotica novel – 50 Shades of Grey by British author E.L. James. This thinly veiled perverse glorification of sexual violence has now generated record sales around the world – 70 million copies and counting. This is probably why Hollywood rushed to latch unto this twisted and depraved appetite for sexual perversion.

Some insightful articles have already been written about the demerits and detriments of this movie to the society at large. I highly recommend these thoroughly explanatory pieces that bring to the fore, all the socially and morally objectionable aspects of E.L James’ 50 shades of Grey.

This erotica tries to frame sadomasochism and sexual domination as a valid and normal expression of love. This plot in fact epitomizes, in all glitz and glam, the darkened thoughts of the violent rapist who believes that their cruel sexual violence is indeed enjoyable even for the one being violated.
This is dark and depraved.

So with Africa always on my mind, I tried to find out if this movie had enough global ambitions to cast its shadows over the Continent of Africa.
And to my great consternation, Africa has not escaped the grey shadows of this distasteful movie.

Given the heartbreaking reality of the high rate of sexual violence and rape in South Africa (sometimes called the rape capital of the world) , one would think that the 50 Shades of Grey will not be shown here, but some insensitive South African cinema houses like the Ster-Kinekor Theatres have already advertised 50 Shades of Grey as the “hottest cinema experience of the year”. I am sure that the hundreds of thousands of South African women who have been raped will testify that there is nothing “hot” about rape other than the excruciating hurt and humiliation a women feels when she is violated.

However, in the insatiable quest for money and business, Ster-Kinekor Theatres also have this movie showing all through this weekend in Namibia and Zimbabwe. And they have put so much efforts to lure as many women as possible to it.

In my country, Nigeria, we have this potent poison of sexual perversion being served to us by Silver Bird Cinemas at all their branches (Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt).
All in time for Valentines, the Cinema entrepreneurs sell us perversion for peace, lust for love, rape for romance. For the thrill of their big ticket-sellouts , they are willing to throw Africa off the dangerous cliff of BDSM (Bondage-Dominance-Sadomasocism), as long as they can smile to the bank.

Sexual bondage, handcuffs, blindfolds, whips, chains…these are some of the milder paraphernalia of the BDSM demi-monde which promises nothing but humiliation, manipulation, objectification, isolation and degradation of women (and men).
This most unhealthy primitive perversion has not emanated from Africa. Ironically it has been formed and fashioned in the glamourous circles of the developed world.
And I can say with all conviction that its darkness is as far removed from our African cultural heritage as one can imagine. Most African ethnic languages do not even have the words to describe this debased sexual sub-culture, this is why many Africans will just call it – Abomination.

So I ask the burning question on my mind…how is it that these cinema houses are able to bring 50 Shades of Grey to our big-screens in Africa.
Surely they have done so without going through the appropriate censorship and broadcasting boards.
Surely no African censorship board or commission will grant permission to this movie. Not when it has been rated “R” in the USA for “Strong sexual content , some unusual behaviour, graphic nudity and strong language”.

Surely these censorship bodies exist to carefully consider the contents of all public entertainment while bearing in mind the moral views and values of our society.
Surely their duty is precisely to protect the African people from invasions of perverse ideologies woven into movies such as this one.

Already the censorship commissions of Kenya and Uganda have risen to their full stature to protect their people from this putrid production. And for this, we applaud them.

There is this constant rhetorical demand by various institutions for an end to sexual violence against African women, and almost every month some international organization or western nation is hosting a high-budget conference to bring attention to this issue. We see them spend a lot of money on colourful posters and media pieces.
But in the spirit of consistency, one cannot call for the end of sexual violence in Africa with one hand and then stoke the flames of sexual perversion with the other hand.

So, I call out to all African governments, women’s organizations, human rights groups as well as all broadcasting and censorship commissions to carefully consider the corrosive effects that the 50 shades of Grey will have on the hearts and minds of millions of people across our Continent.
African women deserve peace not perversion.
African women deserve love not lust.
African women deserve romance not rape.

So kick and keep these “50 Shades of Grey” out of our Africa !!!!