Street Talk Film Series

Street Talk TV produces 15 minute documentaries which reflect human experience and feelings on the issues and challenges of our time and society which are broadcast on Community Television and DSTV.

Street Talk is an innovative documentary series that present uninhibited conversation between participants in discussion groups in a spontaneous way so that the viewer apperas to sit in an empty chair in the circle, giving a sense of participation and involvement. Discussions are filmed in informal settings (shebeens, shacks, school classrooms, restaurants) which are both accessible to participants and situate the series in community settings. In 2010, Street Talk presented a new format in which the documentaries featured organisations and individuals who have a positive impact on their communities.

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Richard Mills

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Many Promises, Few Results

In the outskirts of Cape Town, residents of Langa township are faced with detrimental living environments. Faulty electrical wires hang from makeshift homes made of Coca Cola emblazoned tin sheets and flammable tarps. Multiple families share a single faulty toilet while runoff from wetland marshes containing trash and unwanted substances filter through the streets. The same streets where children run unsupervised and barefoot, playing with discarded bits of Styrofoam and kicking wads of plastic wrap through smoking traffic.

When the Street Talk team last visited Langa, we passed men and women dressed in contrasting outfits of faded and bold colors. They primarily stood motionless in doorways on every corner perhaps rendered immobile by the stagnancy of their living conditions.

This is not a new reality. In fact, such dilapidated and haphazard homes have plagued Cape Town land since the construction of townships during South Africa’s apartheid adoption in 1948.  Ringing a “white-only” city center, townships were erected skillfully to pen black and colored workers in distinct regions surrounded by highways and railways to dishearten the masses into a submissive chronic poverty.

Despite the abolishment of apartheid in 1994, relatively nothing has changed for the communities except a recent surge of outrage from township inhabitants, a few failed housing developments and many unkept promises.

On September 20th, 2016, over a thousand exasperated residents of Zone 18 in Langa demonstrated their need for adequate housing by protesting in the township streets resulting in 33 arrests, transport disruption as well as increased vandalism and citizen looting.

Regarded as the #LangaShutdown on social media, the protest followed several previous attempts over the last year to demand basic human rights, a request for access to privacy, cleanliness and safety.

In the last year, there was a semblance of change within Langa. Completion of 463 out of a proposed five-year project of 1,300-housing units (Phase 1 of the Langa Hostels Community Residential Units) in the Old Depot Site in 2015 was an encouraging step forward for the families lucky enough to gain rental access.

Complete with a kitchenette, toilets, showers with solar-heated water and safe yards, these units stand luxuriously next to the adjacent shanty homes.

However, citizens of Langa were unsatisfied with the progress and saw the incorporation of limited upgraded housing as a limited option merely erected to satiate a fuming population.

A more ambitious housing project began in the township prior to the Langa Hostels were built, the N2 Gateway Project. The Minister of Housing at the time, Lindiwe Sisulu, announced that 22,000 would be built in merely six months.

However, the project only generated 821 uninhabitable units. Exposed plumbing, wiring and collapsing walls were found within the homes and the project stalled.

The promises made to Langa are many but the results are few.

In our episode, Kwanele-Broken Promises, we heard from citizens of Langa as they share the backstory behind their appeal against inadequate housing to Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. They speak of the engrained inhumanity that festers throughout decades of normalized filth, violence and limited accessibility to modern advancement. We commend their proactivity in this convoluted reality.

The LGBTQ Community in South Africa- Season 1, Episode 12, Gay and Proud of It

In approximately 1968, the apartheid regime shifted their focus from persecuting blacks to persecuting members of the LGBTQ community. In all sectors of society, homosexuals faced discrimination, including in the military, where they “were subject to electric shock therapy, imprisonment and public humiliation.” Yet, even though apartheid has officially ended, homosexuals as well as bisexuals are still victimized and shunned by many South Africans. There is an alarmingly high rate of corrective rape in the country, and Triangle, an LGBTQ rights group, “recorded ten rapes per week in the Western Cape.” Corrective rape is a phenomenon in which someone will rape an individual in an attempt to change their sexual preference- in most cases, it as an abhorrent attempt to prove to a homosexual that they are heterosexual. Countless people live in fear of falling victim to this crime, yet South Africa is heralded as one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBTQ rights because the country’s constitution includes a clause that explicitly protects the rights of the LGBTQ community. Under section nine, it states that “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.” But in practice, there are many complaints both among and outside of the LGBTQ community about the protection of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender citizens. The Human Rights Watch released a report entitled “We’ll Show You You’re a Woman: Violence and Discrimination Against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men,” and reported that “black lesbians and transgender men in South African townships and rural areas face an overwhelming climate of discrimination and violence despite protections promised them in the country’s constitution.” Street Talk TV decided to interview a group of lesbian, bisexual, and questioning women to find out more about the subtle acts of discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Many of the people we spoke with had been judged more by their closest family members than by the community at large. A few said that they had struggled to tell their parents about their sexual orientation, for fear of their parents’ reaction. “My mom knows…but she’s kind of ignored it” Tzmane Ngobi told us. Jolie Thomas explained, “my mom is a Born-again Christian…she’s an amazing woman in her own right but this isn’t something she can agree with…and that’s something I’m going to have to live with.” Indeed, the struggles that members of the LGBTQ community face are not always situations of physical violence, but rather, psychological trauma due to their loved ones failure to accept their sexuality. “Like religion evolves…culture should” Ngobi said, hoping that the country would continue to become more accepting. The next decade will be telling- it remains to be seen whether South Africa will follow the example of more accepting cultures, or regress into a mindset of oppression.

-Roz KennyBirch

Sources:
http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-lgbt-legislation
The History of LGBT legislation | South African History Online
www.sahistory.org.za
This article was written by Dixson Pushparagavan and forms part of the SAHO Public History Internship. Introduction

http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/text/rights/know/homosexual.html
https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/05/south-africa-lgbt-rights-name-only

Further Reading: https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/just-how-serious-is-south-africa-about-gay-rights

Visual Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride_flag_of_South_Africa

Masiphumelele Recap

The silent, rolling hills of the Cape Peninsula engulf the buzzing community of Masiphumelele. Indeed, the landscape provides a contrast between the quiet luxury communities of Capri Village and Sunnydale that perch on its peaks, and the valley that contains the lively streets of Masiphumelele, known to locals simply as “Masi.” The peninsula is home to the poorest members of the Western Cape region, but also to the richest members of the province- but these roles are flipped depending on how one defines “rich” and “poor”. Yes, the stately columns of the mansions that flank the hills are gorgeous- but a sense of ubuntu is lacking on the deserted streets of Capri. Just across the street, people spill out from their homes onto the lanes of Masi, carrying babies on their backs, chatting with shopkeepers, and playing sports. Everyone seems to know each other, and moreover, wants to converse with each other- privacy is not a concept in Masi. While privacy is jealously guarded in many wealthy neighborhoods, these neighborhoods lack the hum of a tiny township in which energy is infectious and makes you want to get up from your TV and just live. This is the beauty of Masi- a town of water and fire.

Street Talk TV has been exploring Masiphumelele, and documenting the unique qualities of the town. We have spoken with members of a rugby program in town, the manager of a local creche, and various residents of the town. Each resident plays a unique and purposeful role in the makeup of the community. They exemplify the “fire”, or spirit, of the community, despite the floods of water that they have endured, both literally and metaphorically. Stay tuned to hear their stories.

-Roz KennyBirch

Masiphumelele Recap

The silent, rolling hills of the Cape Peninsula engulf the buzzing community of Masiphumelele. Indeed, the landscape provides a contrast between the quiet luxury communities of Capri Village and Sunnydale that perch on its peaks, and the valley that contains the lively streets of Masiphumelele, known to locals simply as “Masi.” The peninsula is home to the poorest members of the Western Cape region, but also to the richest members of the province- but these roles are flipped depending on how one defines “rich” and “poor”. Yes, the stately columns of the mansions that flank the hills are gorgeous- but a sense of ubuntu is lacking on the deserted streets of Capri. Just across the street, people spill out from their homes onto the lanes of Masi, carrying babies on their backs, chatting with shopkeepers, and playing sports. Everyone seems to know each other, and moreover, wants to converse with each other- privacy is not a concept in Masi. While privacy is jealously guarded in many wealthy neighborhoods, these neighborhoods lack the hum of a tiny township in which energy is infectious and makes you want to get up from your TV and just live. This is the beauty of Masi- a town of water and fire.

Street Talk TV has been exploring Masiphumelele, and documenting the unique qualities of the town. We have spoken with members of a rugby program in town, the manager of a local creche, and various residents of the town. Each resident plays a unique and purposeful role in the makeup of the community. They exemplify the “fire”, or spirit, of the community, despite the floods of water that they have endured, both literally and metaphorically. Stay tuned to hear their stories.

-Roz KennyBirch

Brothers for all

Season 7 Episode 10

Wed, 8 Jun 2016 7:30pm, Sat, 11 Jun 2016 7:30pm

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Inferior Education Post Apartheid

Recap of our “Inferior Education post Apartheid” Episode

By Roz Kennybirch

In our latest documentary episode, “Inferior Education post Apartheid,” members of the community discussed some of the main problems that surround the education system in South Africa. Transportation, educator training, and diversity of extracurriculars available at schools were some of the top concerns that people mentioned. Indeed, these issues are not so different from the issues that various statistics point to. In a 2015 School Realities Report by EMIS, researchers found that from 2013-2015, the number of learners across South African provinces increased by 2.8%, but the number of educators decreased by 2.1%. It is difficult for educators to teach larger numbers of students, and teachers can also be turned off to the profession because of lack of training and large class sizes. People that were interviewed in the documentary pointed to these problems as well. Sithembele Zwayi claimed that one of his teachers “wasn’t sure what he was going to preach in front of the class.” But rather then expressing his anger towards the teacher, Zwayi recognized it was not his fault that he was unsure of what to teach, but the fault of those ensuring that he received proper training.

Vuyisa Mbayi declared that “as long as we have private education, we will forever have crisis in public education,” and that we need to “stop commodifying education.” And indeed, there are vast differences within the educational system of South Africa- not only across public and private lines, but across racial lines as well. South Africa Info reports that while approximately 58.5% of whites and 51% of Indians enter higher education, the rate for coloureds is only 14.3%, and the rate for blacks is only 12%. In addition, Nicholas Spaull, of Stellenbosch University, found that “historically disadvantaged schools remain dysfunctional and unable to produce student learning, while historically advantaged schools remain functional and able to impart cognitive skills.”

But providing better quality education to historically disadvantaged schools is not the only measure that needs to be taken in order to ensure that pupils are receiving good schooling. Lungelo Jonase said that “schools should not only focus on physics and maths,” but also classes that would benefit students with other interests, such as woodworking. Sinekhaya Mbenga believes that better sports facilities and coaching would benefit students as well. In addition, Mbenga points out that he “wanted to come back to the Western Cape (for school) because (he) could not bear the hours of walking to school.” Lack of quality transportation and infrastructure is a major reason that many are not able to attend school. One example that was mentioned was the flooding of roads. If a road is flooded, students are not able to cross safely, and are thus not able to attend their classes. This can cause students who live in areas with lack of transportation and safe roads to fall behind in school. Finally, Zwayi explained that options other than attending University should be made available to students. He explained the importance of “doing something in order to develop yourself,” and contribute to the community, even if one was not attending University. He hopes that a diverse array of options for work and schooling outside of a University education become available.

Sources:

http://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/Documents/Reports/School%20realities%202015.pdf?ver=2016-04-22-134204-903

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Street Talk TV – short documentary films about social issues affecting South Africa. Street Talk is produced by ‘Street Stories Films’ a Non-Profit Organisation Reg No: 072-487 NPO.

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