Loading Events

Thursday, 17 May, 7pm

These events are free, no booking required.

Filmmaker/ Anthropologists: Karen Waltorp and Christian Vium
58 minutes, 2010 (distributed by the RAI)

A beautifully shot documentary set on the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa. The brilliance of it, is that the whole film revolves around the days leading up to a boy named Warren’s 21st birthday, when he has to make a pivotal decision of whether or not to turn himself into the local police for drug abuse and petty crime.
Though Warren’s story is paramount, the documentary follows the lives of Warren and his neighbour, Fazline, who both live in the Cape Town housing project constructed during the apartheid regime to house low-income “coloureds”.

The debut documentary by filmmakers and anthropologists Karen Waltorp and Christian Vium shifts back and forth between these two young lives, revealing the various ways in which both have inherited the daily uncertainties of an impoverished life. Waltorp and Vium spent five years with Manenberg residents, tipping an anthropological ear to the inner lives of Manenberg young people and their relationships with their families. The eponymous film features Manenberg as both a place and a character in its own right, instigating and oppressing those who live within its limits.

The film also questions mothers and the role they play, in their presence or absence, in shaping the life of a child. It raises familiar questions about poverty and power, but does so through the fresh voices and experiences of two young people born into an uncompromising world where their thoughts and actions are the only things that can save them. One of the most piercing questions it addressed, relates to the power of place in determining one’s future. As the film’s focus on Manenberg widens until we are left with just the aerial view of this pinkish strip of housing, it becomes clear that all of us are bound, to some extent, by the conditions of where we are born. Place, though powerful, doesn’t necessarily have the final hold on our identity, but rather, our relationship to it, and our ability to think our way through its limits.