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The African Doctor

The African Doctor

The African doctor is a French comedy-drama movie based in rural France. This film is based on a true story of the life of Seyolo Zantoko in the 19th century. The film is set in rural France. The movie revolves around a doctor of the African race, as the film’s name suggests, who decides to take his family to rural France in his quest for France citizenship. His pursuit of citizenship makes him accept the mayors who desperately search for a doctor for his village to enable his reelection and the well-being of his people. Although desperate for a doctor upon the approach of Seyolo, the mayor tries to dissuade him telling him that the place is rural and the weather was rainy almost throughout. Seyolo sees through this and tells the mayor that his refusal to accept him as a doctor was because of his color, to which the mayor replies that the people in his village haven’t yet seen a black man. This happens by the arrival of Seyolo and his family to the village when the villagers are surprised. Even Seyolo faces hostility when he visits one of the farmers and ends up being shot at. Their first night as a family, despite the prejudice and the racism in the village, ends up on a positive note, with all the family members laughing up at their events of the day. The villagers are reluctant to accept Seyolo as a doctor, and with bills to pay, he has to work as a farmer to pay for his bills. One of the farmers who employ Seyolo guilts up the villagers for not accepting Seyolo as their doctor by telling them that Seyolo has to take up farming to pay his bills.  The changing point comes in when one of the villagers’ wife about to give up with no doctor in attendance, the husband decides to call on the services of Seyolo as a doctor. Even though Seyolo is abused and called all kinds of names, he uses that as a motivation to enable the baby’s safe delivery. Seyolo receives more patients, but his services are stopped when he’s arrested, and he is told that he can’t serve as a doctor anymore. As a last resort, Seyolo decides to rile the other villagers who haven’t voted before to vote for the previous mayor to enable that he’s reinstated as the doctor. This happens, and after many years Seyolo Zantoko came to be one of the most trusted doctors of the region.

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The Culture Is Seen as Collectivistic

They rely on each other, which is seen as a downfall as the villagers rely on the influential people in the village to accept something as a norm. This seems to work against Dr. Seyolo as he is not accepted, and the villagers seek the services of another doctor that is far away. There are several cultural differences seen between the African and the Caucasian community. The Africans are more vibrant in their celebrations, as seen in the Christmas celebrations, where the relatives of Seyolo sing the Silent Night hymn more vibrantly than the villagers to the villagers’ amazement. The villagers are seen to be more reserved than Seyolo’s relatives as they are surprised by the behavior portrayed during Remembrance day as his relatives arrive with a lot of noise to the anger of Seyolo, who is embarrassed by his family antics. Some of the cinematic elements employed are such as the costumes to portray an era in the 1970s, and the hair of Mrs. Seyolo represents her African background. The setting in rural France is used to sensitize the villagers’ naivety as they assume a black man cannot be a doctor and refer to him prejudicially as a witch doctor. The villagers mistreat Seyolo according to his skin color, not believing in his competence as a doctor. Dr. Seyolo treats the villagers compared adequately to how they treat him.

The small town politics prove to be an essential aspect in the future of Seyolo as a doctor. Between the politics of two opponents, one wants to become the mayor and the preexisting mayor. He relies on Seyolo to restore the faith of the people in him while the other not wanting Seyolo and even goes to the extent of having him arrested and his medical license revoked for his political interests. All these political constraints make Seyolo advocate for his friends he had made and a little trickery to get the villagers’ sympathy so that they could reelect the previous mayor that had his interests at heart. This shows the importance of the political domain. The social life is portrayed through the interaction of Seyolo at the bar and even at the church when they celebrate Christmas. His daughter’s social life is also seen engaging in football that enables the team to go to mid regions as she is talented. This social life that Dr. Seyolo engages in allows him to gain the villagers’ support in his quest to reelect the previous mayor.

The African Doctor

The evidence of globalization in this film shows that different cultures can integrate to live in peace and gain. The African doctor combines a doctor from Zaire who escapes his country’s corruption to achieve France’s citizenship in a rural France village. In his quest, he suffers prejudice, isolation, and even loneliness in the town. His perseverance enables him to become a respected doctor in the long run.


Rambaldi, J. (2016). The African Doctor [Movie]. In TF1 Group.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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