Are we the villains now?


Did that title grab your attention? Good.

Let me clarify, I don’t mean “we” as in gamers. We aren’t exactly villain material, although our threats and insults would be priceless.

No, I’m talking about South Africans in general. There seems to have been a strange trend lately, where South Africans or those with a Souf Effriken accent are made the villains, or at least enemies, in video games. Don’t believe me? Here’s some evidence.

It all began with the 2010 Mass Effect 2 DLC Kasumi – Stolen Memory. The gameplay was fun and involved planning a heist. But the most amusing factor was the villain, Donovan Hock. As soon as I heard his voice I wanted to cringe, applaud and cry at the same time. Here, watch this video. There are examples throughout the video, but pay special attention to the 10:55 mark, where the word “Peruggia” is uttered. That pretty much confirmed exactly which corner of the galaxy Hock comes from.

Want another one? How about the “Noble Tempest” mission from Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Listen closely from 1:50 to hear the worst reading of “Klim uit” ever.

But that’s just DLC and minor bad-guys, right? They wouldn’t put us in a blockbuster title as the head honcho would they? That’s just… Oh. They did.

If you didn’t watch it, that was Hoyt Volker, leader of the mercenaries in Far Cry 3. And it’s official, he was born in Johannesburg, it says so in-game and on the Far Cry 3 Wiki.

It’s not just video games we’re worming our way into, movies are beginning to feature South African mercenaries as enemies as well. They were in the recent A-Team remake (although for the life of me I can’t find a clip to back this up) and they featured heavily in District 9 and the recent Elysium. The latter even features a creepy scene where villain Kruger (played by Sharlto Copley) sings a creepy rendition of Jan Pierewiet. Once again there isn’t a clip to show you, but if you’ve watched the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Should we be offended by this? Are South Africans being funnelled down the villain chute that was once clogged with Germans, Russians, and Koreans? I think not. It’s great to see our countrymen representing us (even if they mostly are villains) on screens big and small. South African accents (especially an Afrikaans one) are really unique, and everyone knows that unique accents = more diabolical villains.

If you take one thing away from this, note that four out of six examples above take place in the future. Clearly developers and directors believe South Africans are here to stay.