|Windeck: The Angolan show has captured the imagination|
For several months, Anglophone Africa has stayed glued to television screens watching the intrigues and suspense unfold in the runaway success Angolan telenovela Windeck.
Such is the addiction that the drama has held its viewers hostage to.
While my family and I have been huge fans, it's important not to lose the messages inherent in the novela.
While Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya have been known for the power of their film and television industries, it's certainly the first time that viewers have had such access into Lusophone life and culture as presented by the Angolan drama.
Well, some questions have arisen in my mind thus far: Are all Angolans really that pretty? Are all Angolan men very easy to manipulate by their women? Are all Angolans always scheming to become rich?
Several questions but the one I would attempt to answer in this short piece is the third above.
I attempt a definition of Marxism for the lay reader as a study of the relationship between the owners of property and means of production and the workers and the poor. Marxism explores the battle between the haves and have-nots.
While the story of Windeck looks like a love story on the surface, a closer look reveals that it is a story of the economically powerful and the workers who attempt to get ahead by all means.
The Vosses are the owners of the means of production while the Victoria Kajibangas and Hendas are the forces struggling against the powerful in order to come into their own wealth whether by hook or crook.
While the struggle between the classes is always a classic tale, in Windeck we find that the lower classes are never successful in their aspirations and schemes
Lowly Ofelia got into the Voss lineage via marriage. Victoria is unsuccessful but Ana Maria moves up via eventual marriage to Kiluanji.
In the reverse, Xavier is eventually outed as a non-Voss by his wife to show his failure at pretending to be part of the upper class. Even though he multiplied the fortune he illegally inherited, his legacy is left in tatters when he is revealed as an adopted child.
Windeck states that one can only be a part of the upper classes by virtue of birth or acceptance by marriage. In capitalist societies, we know that this is wrong and that the poor have been known to work their way into great wealth.
In the society of the novella, we encounter scheming workers who continually fail as they attempt to rise above their circumstances of birth.
Even though the Vosses live in splendour and look like victims of schemes, in truth they represent the perpetrators of inequality which leads to every scheme against them.
Due to their wealth in a society where most are poor, they have become the centre of attention and are left open to envy.
As we have found out, the Vosses are not as perfect as they pretend. Xavier is adopted, Wilson is plain and easily runaround by his wife, Kiluanji is clueless and unable to decipher his being manipulated while Lukeni wants so much to become a Kuduro artist and be free like the commoners.
The Voss women are not so different: Isaura is cold, classy but scheming, Ofelia is afraid of her past and is racist, Luwena is a lesbian and goes on to have a child out of wedlock with a man who she has no relationship with while Luweji hopes to escape the stranglehold of her mother and hopes that love will rescue her.
Among the workers, Rosa wants to get ahead by sacrificing her daughter's happiness. Kassia has been raised in faux-bourgeois conditions and expects marriage to improve her destiny.
Ana Maria, hard working and independent, cannot reason without emotion clouding her judgment while her psychopathic sister Victoria takes advantage of everyone's trust as she attempts to cross the border between rich and poor.
Artur is gay, focused but is unable to rein in the monsters living his roof, Henda and Sebastiao, both scheming characters who have found devious ways to lay their hands on the "Angolan dream".
Sebastiao employs Karl Marxes opium of the masses, religion, as his way to reach higher than his calling in life.
Perhaps the people who the story was most kind to were the hardworking men and women of Mofete.
Even they get entangled in the filth left around by the Vosses.
In Windeck the rich and poor clash not on the basis of ideology but as a result of material conditions.
The scheming is not really due to love, but in the ambition to get ahead and become a part of the owners of the economic production as depicted in the magazine house Divo.
Divo is the land, the scene of the battles told by the brilliant script writers. However, even though there were many twists and turns, Windeck is not much different from the many novellas we have seen: Cuando Seas Mia (When You Are Mine), The Rich Also Cry, Second Chance, etc.
They are classic tales of rich boy, poor girl, scheming in-laws and secretaries, etc.
However, what they all boil down to is the continued fight between the upper and lower classes for access to wealth.
While the lower classes always scheme to move higher, the upper class would only accept them in on strict terms.
Usually this is by marriage.
These novellas continue to tell one side of the story.
And we would be hard-pressed to ask, are there no genuine ways that poor people have climbed out of poverty into the monied class?
In Windeck we are told that this is impossible. Xavier is exposed for being a fraud and Wilson takes everything by virtue of his blood.
Victoria and Kassia are denied marriage into upper society.
Only Ana Maria is able to move up - by marriage.
Windeck perpetuates the long held views that the only way young women can make it in life is to marry rich.
It cements the Kate Middleton story: The working class girl who marries the Prince.
Windeck is a feudal classic draped in beautiful characters and pretty actors. Despite its pretenses at love, its lies and blackmails with a tinge of murder, it is fails as a Marxist tale as the poor in the story remain where they are, downtrodden, punished and disgraced.
Still, it is a story that has captured our imagination.
It would be interesting to know the views of everyone that has see the drama, this insight is by no means final. Please share your thoughts.