In Djibril Diop Mambéty’s 1992 dark comedy Hyènes, an extravagantly wealthy woman returns to her poor village seeking revenge. Her target is the man who humiliated her in her youth by getting her pregnant and abandoning her. It is not only death that she wants, but also justice. She will not murder the man by her own hand, as Charles Tonderai Mudede explains in this issue, but instead asks the village to mete out capital punishment, to murder him for his wrongdoing. In exchange, she will make the town wealthy. As the village reflects upon its principles, the people of the village begin buying things on credit. The wealthy woman will have her way not through the mechanism of justice, but through the mechanism of debt. If the film appears bleak for its conflation of money and justice, it is also a comedy about dividing them in the first place…
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