SURFING SOWETO

By Sara BLECHER

CINGA PRODUCTIONS - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2011

DOGTOWN AND THE Z BOYS meets REBEL WITHOUT A
CAUSE - on the streets of SOWETO.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH, ZULU
    • Duration
    • 82 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Sara BLECHER
    • Producer(s)
    • Sara BLECHER (CINGA PRODUCTIONS )
    • Synopsis
    • SURFING SOWETO is the coming of age story of a group of disenfranchised Soweto teenagers who surf moving trains. It’s DOGTOWN AND THE Z BOYS meets REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It is the story of three young friends in Soweto - thirty years after their township’s famous uprisings.
      For the last four years Cinga Productions has been involved in making a feature documentary called Surfing Soweto - a chronicle of the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto township, Johannesburg: Bitch Nigga, Lefa and Mzembe. Our cameras recorded them performing daredevil acts on the tops of hurtling trains, visiting the heroin dens of Hillbrow, serving time in jails with names like Sun City, all in the hope of gaining insight into the frustrations and circumstances of the lives of the new generation of youth in Soweto who have not benefitted from the promises of the new democracy.
      Surfing Soweto is the narrative of this forgotten generation. Two years ago we cut a version of the story for the South African Broadcast Corporation’s Special Assignment (the SABC's flagship current affairs program). The footage of young boys riding the roofs of trains at high speeds ducking cables in excess of 3000 volts of electricity was so dramatic that the footage was soon picked up by a number of different networks around the world. We further developed the material by giving the train surfers cameras to record the circumstances of their daily lives and their stories came tumbling out: searches for absent fathers, for fathers dying of Aids, young men battling poverty, drugs, families falling apart due to death and abandonment and a failing education system. What, however, lifts these stories out of cliche are the hopes and ambitions of our protagonists to redeem themselves, their constant attempts to make a mark on a world that refuses to see them. The film now combines the original footage with the footage our young protagonists shot.
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