What`s really going on at Agbogbloshie?


The Austrian film “Welcome To Sodom, your smartphone is already here” (AT 2018) deals with the topic of illegal electronic waste export using the example of Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana. Since 2019 the movie has been shown as teaching material in Austrian school classes. Yet, sound analysis shows that the film not only commits significant factual errors, ,but also inscribes itself with its visual strategies, its aesthetics and the underlying production conditions in colonial traditions and power relations, which fuel “Western” entertainment industry with targeted exhibition of “poverty,” which literature refers to as “poverty porn”. It thereby repeats relations of oppression figuratively, materially and ideally.

The production refrains from any content or context related critical materialist analysis of the global relations of production in which the landfill is integrated, and in this sense also ignores the consideration of historical processes that the local living and working conditions are grounded in in the first place. Likewise, no attention is paid to people’s agency and their strategies for improving the situation against the violence of waste imperialism and ecological racism. The AEWTASS learning package for this film contains a toolbox for educators to incorporate differentiated background information and critical perspectives on this and other European films "about" or "somewhere in Africa". The teaching material contains a scientific film analysis and background material on the interweaving of colonial and film history, as well as a description of the situation, including environmental protection measures on site in Ghana and historical contexts on the creation of the landfill in Agbogbloshie. Educators receive didactic and methodological suggestions for implementation in the classroom to enable contextualisation of the diverse topics, which this film does obviously not provide.

Desired result: encourage students to practice independent critical questioning of teaching materials with racist connotations; create awareness and facilitate the acquisition of techniques how to deconstruct neo-colonialist racist representations in images and movies, including students have to confront in their classrooms.

The teaching materials can be used in different subjects (geography, history, social studies, ethics, …?) and foster exchange and discussion with and between teachers about the consequences of stereotypical portrayals of people of African origin.

Creation of teaching material: Dr. Viktoria Luiza Metschl, Prof. Dr. Martin Oteng und Ing. Israel Acheampong
Focusgroup: Educators within the Austrian school system

Mag.a Dr.in Viktoria Luiza Metschl

Film Analysis Welcome To Sodom

Viktoria Metschl works as a film scholar and translator. She studied Development Studies and Theater, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna. She is co-editor of “Figurationen von Solidarität. Algerien, das Kino und die Rhythmen des anti-kolonialen Internationalismus“ (Berlin 2019), a collection of critical essays on cinema and networks of anti-colonial internationalism taking inspiration in revolutionary Algeria. Her writings have been published in Africultures, kolik film and Texte zur Kunst among other journals and edited volumes..

Prof. Martin Oteng-Ababio

Situation analysis concerning the locality of Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana

Prof. Martin Oteng-Ababio Situation analysis concerning the locality of Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana Is a professor of urban geography and head of the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. He also serves as project coordinator for PeriPeri U (Partners for Enhancing Resilience of People Exposed to Risk), a platform for 12 African universities with a disaster risk reduction agenda. His research interests include urban studies focusing on environmental management, infrastructure services, disaster risk reduction, and informality. He has authored over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles and twenty book chapters. Among others, his 2016 article in “Habitat International” was awarded the widely cited Research Report of the Year. 

Ing. Israel Boakye Acheampong (PE-GhIE)

Outlook of the work and involvement of “Jospong Group of Companies” in the locality of Agbogbloshie

Ing. Israel Boakye Acheampong, studied chemical engineering Bsc. and Mphil. at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Ghana. He is a consultant for engineering design and projects at Africa Environmental Sanitation Consult. Currently engaged in operational research and project implementation in waste and resource management related to material recovery, reuse, recycling as well as energy recovery. Israel Acheampong is a member of the International Solid Waste Management Association (ISWA) and a member of the Ghana Institution of Engineers.