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21 Up South Africa Mandela's Children
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Most dramatic! A really interesting and accessible way of seeing what's happened to a country through these ordinary people. --The Age (Austrailia)
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I'm a huge fan of Michael Apted's "UP" Series of documentaries - where he follows a dozen or so British children as they age by visiting them every seven years. (You'll find my review of his latest elsewhere on Amazon.com).
I was unaware, until recently, that another Director, Angus Gibson, had started a similar series in South Africa in 1992 (also made for Granada TV), finding 12 children - Black, White and mixed race - who were then seven years old and filming them again at 14, and now 21 years of age. (I'm not sure the earlier films are available on DVD.).
This film is short - at just 70 minutes - and has not bonus materials to speak of. (There is a Trailer for the British 42 Up DVD with an interview with Apted... I only wish they interviewed - or provided commentary by Gibson.)
These are truly "Mandela's Children" because they were first filmed under apartheid and we can see how the country has changed. There are affluent children included but most come from extremely poor single-parent families and nearly all are unemployed. Shockingly, three (yes, one-fourth) of this randomly chosen group have died of AIDS since they were last filmed at 14.
Once you start to watch this film, you will not leave the TV set. It's that griping. You'll also think about these kids (well, they are 21 now, so they are no longer kids) for days afterwards!
I would agree the most powerful aspect was indeed the perspective on HIV/AIDS from the group as well as the revelation of the three deaths due to AIDS. It is a somber feeling that you get, yet a sobering reminder of what AIDS can/has done to the people in South Africa.
The only disappointment was that not all the kids were included from the first film as well as having one girl who chose not to continue the series. I would also like to hear more what their actual political views are and how they reflcect their backgrounnds amist a very unique government.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film and as a Geography teacher, it has really enriched the teaching of South Africa for my students. It's Worth the wait!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film explores the impact of the end of apartheid (in essence, South African independence) through the lives of a diverse group of young South Africans. Read morePublished on June 22, 2014 by Malaika
I was somewhat disappointed with the DVD. When attempting to play to a crowd using my computer, the DVD skipped, lines of different colors came into the movie and it went blank. Read morePublished on May 3, 2011 by Tiger