This chapter discusses the question of fetishism as it relates to postcolonial Africa by examining what is perhaps the best-known film by the Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembene, Xala (The Curse, 1974), and an important study of this film by the film critic Laura Mulvey. It first looks at the ways in which fetishism functions both as a theme and as a rhetorical structuring device in Mulvey's reading of Sembene's Xala. The chapter extends this reading to another, more recent film by Sembene, Guelwaar, as well as a novel, Cinéma by the exiled Guinean writer Tierno Monénembo. Cinematic representation is in the context seen as an effective vehicle for political contestation in postcolonial Africa, but it puts into question the more classically Marxist positions to which Mulvey ultimately subscribes.
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