‘The Unseen Ones’ Documentary
As students begin to arrive into their respective Interstudy programs across South Africa they will be exposed to some realities of the country that are foreign to us in the first world. Likely the most ‘in your face’ difference will be the obvious separation of wealth through the observation township living. Townships often refer to the underdeveloped urban living areas that were reserved for non-whites during the Apartheid era, mostly built on the outskirts of towns and cities. This dynamic has not changed much since the end of Apartheid, still housing a majority of non-white citizens of South Africa.
Within the Wesbank, a township outside the city of Cape Town epidemics of drug use, violence and gangsterism seep their way into the streets and youth of the community. Members of gangs throughout the township market themselves as role models, manipulating the youth into false beliefs that gangsterism will lead into a life of glory, wealth and success. Such is not the case.
This harsh reality was learned first hand by Wesbank Rastafarian rapper Leagan Davids, a.k.a Nico10long. A former gangster of the ‘Dixie Boys’ gang, Davids witnessed the inevitable tragedy gang violence brings with the murder of his former comrades in front of his own eyes.
Kurt Orderson’s musical documentary “The Unseen Ones” follows Nico10long, unveiling his experience of struggle to raise a daughter in a community ravaged by high crime rates, underperforming school systems and high unemployment. It portrays Nico10long’s salvation by means of hip hop to educate the youth about the perils of gangsterism and social injustice with the intention to empower them to make more out of their lives.
Rapping in his native tongue of Afrikaans, Nico10long’s lyrics paint the picture of a life riddled with social injustices that are experienced through a life in the Cape Flats of Cape Town, providing the viewer with a profound vision into a world seldom seen by those on the outside, hence its title ‘The Unseen Ones.’
This narrative of a man struggling to raise his daughter in such a tough area is personified in Nico10long’s premier music video ‘Vaderfiguur’ (Father-figure) and highlights Davids’ mission to educate the Cape Flat’s youth through his socially conscious lyrics through entertainment by means of hip-hop music and Rastafarian culture.