Netflix criticised over Malawi language

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Netflix has released the trailer for The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, out on 1 March, but has garnered criticism over its poor use of Chichewa, Malawi’s official language aside from English.

Adapted from the real life story of Malawian William Kamkwamba, who built his own windmill and used it to provide electricity for his village, the film switches between English and Chichewa, which is subtitled.

But Facebook comments on the trailer have questioned director Chiwetal Ejiofor’s use of the language.

“Does Hollywood think Africans all sound the same? The accents are so bad.

These chaps don’t sound Malawian in both Chichewa and English,” said Chikhu Chanthunya, from Blantyre.

Lloyd Chimwaza said: “Is there any reason why native Malawians were not featured in such scenes?”

Rasheed Kasito disagreed, suggesting the film’s intention was to appeal to the African market as a whole, which has varying use of Chichewa, sometimes known as Nyanja.

The film was written and directed by Chiwetal Ejiofor, star of Twelve Years a Slave. He also takes a lead role as the boy’s father.