Jaya Travel & Tours’ “On Location” series focuses on famous film locations around the world that you can visit. Today, our series features movie locations from the critically acclaimed film: District 9. District 9 is not only a well-done sci-fi drama; it uses the element of the genre as a commentary on the apartheid era of South Africa. Because apartheid is an important part of South African history, many locations that inspired the events of District 9 can be visited in real life.
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District 9 Synopsis
Director: Neill Blomkamp | Run time: 1 hr 52 min | Genre: action, sci-fi, thriller | Rating: R
District 9 is the 2009 sci-fi drama that takes place in South Africa. It’s presented through found footage. It takes place in an alternate version of Johannesburg in 1982. Alien ships have appeared over the city. When the South African government learns that the alien population is sick, they’re forcefully segregated.
Years later in 2010, the government decides to relocate the aliens to an internment camp. One alien, Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), tries to escape with his son. During the chain of events, they cross paths with a bureaucrat named Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley). Due to events early on, he spills the fluid on himself and begins turning into an alien.
Segregation, or “apartheid” as it was called in South Africa, is a major theme of the movie. In fact, real life events in Cape Town inspired the movie’s plot. (No, there were no alien landings, sorry to disappoint.) District 6 was a neighborhood of Cape Town where residents were forcibly relocated.
District 9 Film Locations
You can visit the following District 9 film locations any time of year. Johannesburg isn’t going anywhere! However, if you want to get an authentic, Jaya Travel recommends going during June–August. The film was purposefully shot during the winter time to give the scenery a bleak, grey appearance. In fact, the director was forced to film for a portion of the summer and had greenery edited out to keep up the drab appearance.
As mentioned above, the film takes place in Johannesburg. There are two places in the city-proper you can visit to experience the spirit of the film. (We’ll get to the specific neighborhood where filming was done in a bit.)
Remember that the major theme of the movie was apartheid. To understand what life was like under this rule, visit the following spots:
District 9 largely focuses on the perspective of the abused alien population–symbolizing the abuse and relocation suffered under apartheid. The museum documents the history and horrible practices of apartheid through 22 individual exhibits.
Originally built as a Boer Fort to defend against the British, this building was eventually turned into a prison. During the apartheid era it housed prisoners who rebelled against the status quo. It’s most famous inmate, of course, was Nelson Mandela. In fact, you can visit his specific cell!
Soweto is a township in the city of Johannesburg where filming for District 9 took place. Relatively unknown, this District 9 Film location came to prominence in 1976 during an uprising. The small, metal houses depicted in the film can still be found in this neighborhood.
Here, you’ll also find the Mandela house; a modest home marked by bullet holes and the scars of Molotov cocktails. Be sure to visit this National Heritage Site on your visit to Soweto.
Travel to Africa
Book a journey to relive the magic of District 9 filming locations for yourself. We can also plan tours to your other favorite movie locations. Contact Jaya Travel today for flight tickets, hotels, rental cars, and more!