One of my deep concerns in returning to South Africa is to see how well apartheid has been eradicated – in people’s hearts and pocketbooks. The documentary film described below doesn’t sound very encouraging. I have not seen it but if you have an opportunity to see it, please comment on how it affected you.
Following the efforts of a South African housing rights group, the documentary “Dear Mandela” illustrates how fresh injustices have succeeded the inequality once enforced by apartheid. The group, Abahlali baseMjondolo*, advocates for Durban shack dwellers who are threatened by a proposed law that would permit rapid evictions. Replacement housing doesn’t emerge, except for crude “transit camps” far from the city center. Government and police representatives stonewall.
South Africa’s comedown from post-apartheid unity has been going on for a while, but “Dear Mandela” usefully outlines the forces of exclusion and generational shifts that have arisen. The tensions over urban development echo experiences in cities the world over. Yet the enabling role played by the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, represents a special disappointment
Excerpt from The New York Times,
September 21, 2012
*The people of Mjondolo”