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White City, Black Lives
Directed by Teboho Mahlatsi
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If you ask people what they know of South Africa, the chances are one thing many people would mention is Soweto. After the Soweto uprising of 1976, this, the largest black "township" in South Africa became world Most people in Soweto have little insight into the international representation of their lives, which they perceive like any others. But they are aware of how Soweto and their lives are represented in South African media, by media "professionals," and many don't like it.

For White City, Black Lives five residents of White City, a neighborhood in Soweto, were trained how to use small Hi8 cameras, so that they could tell the story of their own lives, in their own way, to represent themselves to their fellow citizens, and the world.

From Lindiwe, a young unmarried mother, to Prince an, ex-convict and opera lover trying to make do; from Ntombi's boredom and frustration while waiting for her dreams to come true, to the daily emptiness of unemployment facing her father, Mabena, White City, Black Lives deals with issues of poverty and aspirations, crime and drugs in a way which allows us to get to know the real people behind the statistics.

Whilst looking at issues of media representation, and providing an opportunity for self-representation, White City, Black Lives cuts through preconceptions, and provides a view of black urban life in South Africa unlike any ever made before.

"An interesting, unusual and highly evocative account of the everyday life of the residents of the Soweto neighborhood formerly called Jabavu, now known as White City. [WHITE CITY, BLACK LIVES] is successful because of its home-made, personal and even intrusive feel."—MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship

56 minutes / Color
Release: 1997
Copyright: 1997

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Study guide available

Subject areas:
Africa, Communications, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, South Africa

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