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South Africa’s First Post-Apartheid Generation

Living in a country that is a literally on the opposite end of the world, we as Americans may be predisposed to various notions or judgments about the foreign land of South Africa. As future students of the country, it is important to recognize the 1st and 3rd world elements that South Africa entails. Of course with your acceptance into some of the country’s (and world for that matter) most respected universities you are fortunate to reap the benefits of the best that South Africa has to offer. Whether it be living in the heart of Cape Town, just a cab ride from the Camp’s Bay of Table Mountain, taking a quick cruise in Stellenbosch for a wine tasting on a beautiful vineyard, walking out of your dorm in Port Elizabeth for a quick morning surf, or venturing to the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu Natal you as students will be able to see the best of South Africa has to offer.

But these privileges are not the case for a majority of the country’s citizens.

It is still under 20 years ago that South Africa abolished its oppressive regime of Apartheid with the election of Nelson Mandela and the launching of the African National Congress (ANC) into power. With this came a new constitution and a promise to provide all citizens living in squatter towns, and townships with adequate housing and equal rights.  Unfortunately, in the eyes of many South Africans, this promise has not yet been fulfilled.

‘Dear Mandela,’ recently awarded the “Best South African Documentary” prize after its World Premier at the Durban International Film Festival tackles the daunting issue of how the ANC’s revolutionary history has turned toward a reputation of corruption and human injustices. Following around young activists and community members, the film highlights the perceived failures of the ANC and the social unrest that has resulted from mislead promises, evictions from homes and forced removals.

“GRIPPING…a call to action as much as it is an indictment of a government that has lost its way” – Charl Blignaut, City Press (http://www.dearmandela.com/?q=node/1)

The importance of this film is very real, specifically in gaining perspective on tangible issues in South African society today. This does not take away from the beauty and wonder that is South Africa, but sheds light on the ever-present realities of the continued struggles in post-Apartheid South Africa as it nears the end of its ‘teenage’ years.

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