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Profits And Planet Destruction


Saworoide, a Yoruba film by Tunde Kelani obliterates the fallacy that economic development or urbanisation leads to a better life. 

It does, for a few rich people who buy shares on credit, so that a company can go to Africa, Australia or Brazil to dig up gold, diamonds, platinum or suck up oil from the bottom of the sea.  Modern day African politicians are also in the game because they regularly promise to bring development after elections.

In the movie, loggers bribe the king and chiefs but are still not satisfied because they cannot cut down trees in the sacred forest.  The king also gave them the licence on condition that they plant trees after the logging.  Loggers complain that such restrictions cut down their profit.
Saworoide is like an octopus.  It has many tentacles.  The most important one is the symbiotic relationship between humans and the land.  One of the characters tells the king that logging has hurt his honey business because bees are gone. 

Humans and animals, be it wild life or sea creatures complement one other. Women in Africa do not cut down trees.  They collect branches that nature has released from active duty.  Active trees provide shade, playground for kids and lovers who sit on the thick roots, a thousand years old.
Local people who lived around one forest in South Africa were mad when it was made a no-go area so that tourists could come and take pictures of beautiful birds.  This is testament to what locals had done for centuries, left wildlife in peace.  They only went to the woods to collect firewood, water, honey and herbs.

The umbilical cord between humans and the land is the reason why Europe called Africa backwards.  Nature provided everything, materials to build homes, furniture, utensils, toys for kids, teaching material for kids and recycling methods.

Economic development, financed by banks on credit, cut those ties engineered by nature, the one and only scientist.  The film Saworoide clearly shows that profits do not recycle, they abstract from nature.  Tractors, blasting equipment, oil rigs are crash and burn.  Local people clean up when capitalists leave because oil or diamond production is no longer ‘economically viable.’

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.

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