South Africa

3003 Words Jun 3rd, 2013 13 Pages
South Africa

South African landscapes provide us with the lush greens of the jungle, the dry grass of the savanna, the majesty of the mountains, the eroded clay of the desert and the high-rise mortar of the city. A filmmaker can find there any background desired as the scenery for his motion picture, but variety is not the only true value of the African landscape. Here we find the lush, well tended greens that represent the wealth and control of the Europeans who have invaded the country; the dry savannas where the animals roam freely, but the native peoples are restricted; the eroded clay that somehow manages to sustain life and reminds us of the outlying township slums that somehow sustain oppressed lives; and the stifling city
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But the black children of South Africa were intentionally held back. Their lessons were taught only in Afrikaans so that their world would be a narrow one that could easily be manipulated and controlled. Peter Davis, in his book In Darkest Hollywood, writes, "The educational system of South Africa had been deliberately structured to deprive Africans of a sense of continuity, of a past in which they could take pride . . ." (159). In Euzhan Palcy’s A Dry White Season (1989) demonstrators, mostly children, wanting a better education, a "white education," converge on a crossroad from different directions and march toward the camera. Behind the action, the scenery shows a single tree, symbolic of the tree of knowledge, and African land as far as the eye can see. Some would argue that this is simply a natural South African background, but the open land and sky behind the multitude of African children seems to add emphasis to the march as it says ‘this is our land, and we have a right to the best of what is offered here.’ The subtle message adds power and emotion to this representative scene of Soweto in June of 1976 when young demonstrators were dealt a violent blow by the white government of South Africa. When the struggle ended, the death toll was at 600 lives, and the rest of the world began to take notice of the situation in South Africa.

Ralph Nelson, director of The Wilby Conspiracy (1975), offers another

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