for those who could still remember n!xau
Wednesday, October 06, 2004

There was this time in the 80s when Hollywood films are hard to come by here in the Philippines as opposed to their dominance in theatres nowadays.
Well, sure there are American films every now and then at the time but usually they're from Solar or Jemah Films, which are basically cheap b-movies sporting titles like: American Ninja, Delta Force or any other film that starred lousy muscle-bound bozos like, Van Dame, Michael Dudikof, Dolph Lundgren, Shokozugi and Jan Michael Vincent.
While there are others like that of blockbosters at the time which would now be considered as relics of the bygone age that was the 1980s movies ranging from the then popular sci-fi genre such as ET, Cocoon, The Ghostbusters and latter portions of Aliens, Star Wars and Superman; coming of age flicks (St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Beuler's Day Out, The Breakfast Club); and those adventure types like Indiana Jones and The Goonies among others.
As you can see that was before the advent of mall cinemas back then movies are mostly shown on theatres or movie houses popular ones at the time were New Frontier and Delta. Another is that what we have now could be attributed to the Jurassic Park phenomena that came about in the later part of 1992.
So what do we have then basically?
Locally we have a lot of happy happy joy joy, wholesome, family oriented Regal flicks courtesy of Mario J. Delos Reyes more popular for giving us Petrang Kabayo, Inday Bote etc.
While apart from the American ones there was those Golden Harvest movies, which re-issued classic Bruce Lee flicks as well as old-school Jackie Chan (most notable was the cult flick Drunken Master); the earlier encarnations of Jet Lee's Once Upon A Time In China; the slapstic kung fu films of Samo Hung and Yuen Biao; the Magic To Win series of Raymond Wong (which would even star Kris Aquino in the early 90s version of the series); and last but definitely not the least: The Gods Must Be Crazy.
That particular movie was one of those few movies that I've looked forward to watching at either Million Dollar movies or on RPN 9s Sunday's Big Event mainly because it was really funny. It was a movie that generated barrels of laughter during my politically incorrect childhood. Though when I look back at it now I at times quiver with shame for having laughed at how the Western world have portrayed Africans at the time, by making them appear as an inferior race.
But true enough the movie being set in the 80s has made realize of how innocent the days of my youth were which could really be comparable to how Xixo reacted to the complex modern world that unfolded before his eyes during the course of the movie. Now it stands as a testament of how the West looks at your stereotyped African Bushman who'd treat a bottle of Coke with such reverence that it almost regarded it as a deity. It speaks of ignorance and racial supremacy, but at the same time it also served as a strong reminder of how life could be simplier of one would let go of their over dependence on the sheer spectacle of modern living.
You may be wondering why I would devote web space for a movie that I've both come to hate and love at the same time?
Well one thing is that I just recently read that the protagonist of the film who played the role of that particular Kalahari Bushman, Xixo who was played by N!xau who was actually named G!kau (it was due to a typing error that happen when the original film was made), had already passed away last July 1, 2003 due to a multi-drug resistant" tuberculosis, while he was out hunting guinea fowl. It was said that N!xau said in a 1992 documentary that he deeply regretted appearing in the film, and that after his career in acting ended he lived to farm maize, pumpkins and beans and had kept several head of cattle in South Africa.
And the main reason why I decided to write this piece is so that this would be somewhat a requiem for this tragic hero, who at one point have colored my childhood with laughter and had reminded me of the value of living a simple life and of going into personal quests that seemed to appear as though they were of epic proportions (and in his case in The Gods Must Be Crazy it was about throwing the Coke bottle to the edge of the world to prevent a war among his trie and in a later version of the film it was so as to free a butterfly that was stuck in a coke bottle).
Growing up was an odyssey for me where I've ventured to similar quests and have overcome particular circumstances that were not as great as that of N!xau or any other protagonist in great tales, but true enough when I think about it the innocence of N!xau was a beacon that has in its own way have preserved my youthful side now that I am already in my way towards the middle of my 20s.
It has already been more than a year since N!xau has died and I hope this piece is not yet too late to serve as an expression of gratitude for his contribution to giving life into my boring childhood.

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