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A brief analysis of the film “Sarafina”

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Sarafina is the story of a group of black-South African teenagers living through the apartheid in a poor area of the country called Soweto. This group of young students is led by one of their peers named Sarafina, a politically conscious young woman with a passion for music and a dream of becoming a star. The film follows Sarafina and the rest of the group as they learn about themselves and their oppression from their combination history and music teacher who strays from the classes approved syllabus and goes into topics that concern revolution and standing up for themselves. The students all ultimately turn against authority and commit criminal acts against the “white” enemy.

This film did not come across to me as a story of the black-South Africans overcoming oppression. It began with the depiction of several students burning down the school. It did not really show too much of the oppression that the whites put on the blacks. I wasn’t able to see the attitudes of the students before they committed the act, so that gave me the impression that, even though they explained the cause of their actions later on, they were being violent for the sake of being violent like many do in the world we live in today. After the opening scene, it seems that the white soldiers that come to their school are only there to assist the school in handling an act of terrorism. Many of the black-South Africans, especially the school administration, seemed to be getting along with the white-South Africans. I know what was going in South Africa at the time, so the film does not change my views or attitude about the apartheid. But when a film is made about someone being oppressed, it should depict more about the oppressor’s actions.

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