I loved the plot in this movie and how it captured the essence of a terrible past in slavery. It is a must watch movie! Anyone who watches this movie is moved at how a slave, Django, regains his worth and fights the same oppressors who put him in chains and he eventually wins. I will not review the movie here as it is clearly not in my forte, but I will address some leadership issues that I drew from the movie.
The plot is set in 1858 when a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz forcefully buys Django from his slave masters, the Speck brothers. Schultz reveals that he sought out Django to aid him in identifying the Brittle brothers, a trio of ruthless killers working for a plantation owner. The two come to an agreement: in exchange for helping locate and identify the Brittle brothers, Schultz will free Django from slavery and give him $75 and a horse. The master slave relationship ends immediately Dr. Schultz buys Django. He bought him new clothes, gave him a horse to ride on and even spoke to him as equals. Many were baffled at the thought of a black man being well-groomed and riding on a horse alongside a white man, but rather than let Django speak for himself in the initial encounters, Dr. Schultz defended him. He helped Django see himself as a free man, by treating him equally to or even above other white men.
Why this movie? It is an issue of justice! Dr. Schultz did not become any lesser of a man by helping Django and lifting his status. In fact, he comes out as a courageous man even in the movie as he defied societal norms. He used his position of power to lift a slave to the place of dignity, he used his power to bring justice.
We have slightly over ten days to the General Elections and all systems are go right now. The elections governing body is prepared and security service teams are promising safety during this election period. My question however is, how are we prepared as Kenyans and as leaders to seeing a just society? Are we ready to offer opportunities to those who lack access to them or are we so selfish that we want to have it all to ourselves? Slave owners did not care about the well-being of the slaves, neither did they offer them opportunities to become better. All they did was to stifle their growth and keep them working on their farms. How many of the leaders we are going to elect embody the character displayed by Dr. Schultz? Who among them does not seek to maintain social classes rather seeks to make people better, regardless their standing in society?
As we begin to realize our power, it is easy to get drawn into the charismatic and charming behavior and start overlooking those we consider lower, esteeming highly those of our status. It is easy to buy over-priced meals at a restaurant, yet never feed a hungry child on the streets. It is easy to buy fine and expensive clothing yet never clothe an orphan. It is human nature to get comfortable with what is around you, desire what is above you and ignore what is below you. I am not seeking a “Robin Hood” society where we take from the rich and give to the poor rather I want to raise our awareness to the fact that we are not equal. In recognizing our differences, we can consciously move towards justice by each one of us lifting someone up to our level.
This could mean missing out on perceived opportunities, but the overall gain is worth it. When all humanity feels dignified through the justice displayed, we become energized to do more things to help us all. Selfishness kills humanity, the problems in our society emanate from the feeling that life cannot get any better so why bother trying. Crime rate goes up because some people see themselves having no options in life. I pray that as we go to elect the next leader, we will look for a “Dr. Schultz”, someone willing to lift off the curtains of social class and bring justice to our society.
Kenya, let us arise in justice, let us make our country a better place for humanity.