Born Free Films

Amazwi Wethu in Cape Town, South Africa, teaches its high student members how to advocate for themselves through film and photography.

Image: Palika Makam.

In a few months, South Africa’s “born free generation” will cast their ballots in the country’s fifth democratic election for the first time. It’s been 20 years since the apartheid government lost power, and yet the country remains among the most unequal in the world. In Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s fastest growing township, residents are faced with poor sanitation, service delivery and infrastructure, in addition to increasing gang violence. These circumstances–paired with an inadequate education system that fails to prepare students for a future their parents fought for–begs the question: were they really “born free”?

Equal Education, based in Khayelitsha, is a movement of students, parents, teachers and community members working for equality and quality in the South African education system through activism and analysis.

Their youth filmmaking program, Amazwi Wethu (which means “Our Voices” in isiXhosa), teaches student members how to advocate for themselves through film and photography. Students reflect on and self educate around issues that they face directly, and produce films to spread awareness and advocate for change. Their recent film, “Siwe’s Journey: Sanitation in Khayelitsha,” follows 17-year-old Siwe as she explores issues of sanitation and service delivery with other young people living in the township. You can watch the film below, and read more about how Amazwi Wethu uses film as a tool for activism in their film guide. Also, read more about Equal Education and Amazwi Wethu here, and visit their Facebook page.

Further Reading