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South Africa 2015

South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

It was stunning. I turned a corner and there it was: a temporary plywood fence at a downtown construction site turned into a joyful work of art. Brilliant blues, dazzling yellows, bright reds and greens. Upon closer inspection, the realization came that someone had found the time, energy, and motivation to paint this glorious picture, using only hand prints - and hadn't even bothered to sign it. This was a wonderful example of creating art simply for the sheer joy of doing - and sharing with the world.
– Patricia Valentine © 2009
PCV, Ghana, 2007 - 2008 South Africa, 2008 - 2009

Republiek Suid-Afrika
Southern Africa

Area 1,219,090 km2 (25th)

Arable 10%

Population 48,601,098 (40/km2)

Gov’t Republic

Capital Pretoria (1.4M)

GCP/capita $11,600

Military 1.7% of GDP (85th of 195)

In poverty 31%

Life expectancy 49 yrs

HIV/AIDS 17.8% (5.6M people living)

Literacy 93%

Languages IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, English, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, Tshivenda, isiNdebele, other

Religions Protestant 37%, Catholic 7%, Muslim 2%, other Christian 36%, other 2%, none 15%

Agriculture corn, wheat, sugar cane, fruits, vegetables, beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products

Industry mining, auto assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron, steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair

PCVs 1997–present

Peace Ranking 121st

Adult Books

The South African StoryThe South African Story
By Ron McGregor, Lisa McGregor (illustrator), 2013

Paperback: 437 pages
Publisher: TDS Publishing; 3 edition (December 23, 2014)
Language: English
ASIN: B00RE68K46

Book Description
Written by a South African tour-guide and writer, a collection of the tales that the author tells as he crosses the country with his travelers. Much of it is about historical facts, folklore, legend, food and drink.

Kids' Books

Journey to Jo'burg, A South African Story
By Beverly Naidoo, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, 1986

Format: Paperback, 96 pp.
ISBN: 978-0064402378
Age Range: 11+ years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition, 2002



Film: Fanie Fourie's Lobola
Director: Henk Pretorius, 2013
Languages: Zulu, Afrikaans, English
South Africa

SYNOPSIS: The story of the complications that ensue when an Afrikaans man and Zulu girl fall in love, especially when the traditional custom of "lobola," or dowry, makes things even more difficult for them.

For a review and trailer:

When an Afrikaans man romances a Zulu woman, there’s bound to be a price to pay. In the case of Fanie and Dinky, it ends up being her dowry (known in South Africa as lobola).

Even the lovers can scarcely believe that it’s come to this. After all, Fanie asked her out on a dare and she accepted to deter her dad’s incessant matchmaking. And so they find themselves caught in a culture clash with Fanie having to calculate the precise value of the love of his life. Combining hilarious storytelling with social commentary, this romantic comedy is a potent tale of new love running headlong into outdated attitudes.

"A Romeo & Juliet fable that buries worn-out issues and clichés and celebrates an optimistic New South Africa… Pretorius spins moments of absolute magic with his subtle and skillful telling… We need films like Fanie Fourie’s Lobola to show how the best of two broken worlds can unite into a harmonious whole… It also shows that there is much more to paying your lobola than delivering cows; it’s about understanding and respecting the cultural differences that separate and embrace a new world that outshines the old."—Daniel Dercksen, All Africa


Film: Tsotsi
Director: Gavin Hood, 2005
Languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English
94 minutes – UK / South Africa

Based on a story by Athol Fugard

Set in Johannesburg slum, the film tells the story of Tsotsi, a young street thug who steals a car only to discover a baby in the back seat. It is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by popular South African artist Zola and a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African protest singer/poet Vusi Mahlasela.

This film won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.


Documentary: Music for Mandela
Director: Jason Bourque, 2013
Languages: English
82 minutes – Canada

A theatrical documentary that explores the role music played in the extraordinary life of one of the world's most important icons. From Nelson Mandela's imprisonment to his release, to the present day celebrations of his legacy, the music born out of his inspirational journey is commented on by his closest friends, former exiled musicians, current international artists, and community volunteers, who use music today to motivate and educate. Combining striking visuals with freedom songs, pop music and hip-hop, this is a stirring tribute to the man himself and to the ultimate power of music.


Documentary: Dear Mandela
Director: Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza, 2011
Languages: English and Zulu
93 minutes – South Africa / USA

SYNOPSIS: When the South African government promises to ‘eradicate the slums’ and begins evicting shack dwellers from their homes, three friends who live in Durban’s vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. They are part of a new generation who feel betrayed by the broken promises of Mandela’s own political party, the African National Congress. DEAR MANDELA follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in an inspiring social movement. Determined to stop the evictions, they meet with their communities by candlelight and discover that the new innocuous-sounding ‘Slums Act’ legalizes the evictions and violate the rights enshrined in the country’s landmark constitution. With the help of pro bono lawyers, they challenge the Slums Act all the way to Constitutional Court.

The extraordinary achievements of the shack dwellers donot come without a price. As the beloved Mandela's portrait beams down from schoolroom chalkboards and shack walls, the three learn of the sacrifices that come with leadership. Shack demolitions, assassination attempts, and government repression test their resolve to continue. By turns devastating, inspiring, and funny, DEAR MANDELA offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age. This is the remarkable story of Abahlali BaseMjondolo – Zulu for ‘people of the shacks,’ and is considered the largest movement of the poor to emerge in post-apartheid South Africa.

Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Brooklyn Film Festival Winner; Best Documentary, Brooklyn Film Festival Winner; Best South African Documentary, Durban International Film Festival; African Academy Award Nominee For Best Documentary Winner


Documentary: Mandela (aka Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation)
Director: Angus Gibson, Jo Menell, 1996
Languages: English
118 minutes – South Africa / USA

The official film biography of Nelson Mandela. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The film touches on Nelson Mandela's childhood, family, education, and his long struggle to gain freedom for all the ethnic groups in South Africa. It includes his experiences in the Robben Island prison before becoming the first democratically elected president of the ethnically united South Africa. Interviews include: F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Eugene Terre'Blanche, (Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging Party).

Film critic Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) liked the film but felt more information should have been included, especially the motivations of F.W. de Klerk. He wrote, "The actual story of the events leading to the election is more complicated and interesting. Yes, South Africa suffered from economic sanctions. But it could have survived for many years before caving in; it forged clandestine trading arrangements with countries ranging from China to Israel, and its diamonds still found their way onto the fingers of brides all over the world. Civil unrest was widespread, but South Africa had a fearsome array of police and military forces to counter it. If white South Africa had been adamant, apartheid would still be law...None of those events are told in Mandela, which simplifies the transfer of power into a fable of black against white; it all but implies that de Klerk was unwilling to see power change hands."


Hugh Masekela: Bring Him Back Home, Nelson Mandela

Miriam Makeba: Ring Bell, Ring

Miriam Makeba: Life Overview

Miriam Makeba: Click Song

Miriam Makeba: Malaika

Miriam Makeba: Khawuleza 1966

Soweto Gospel Choir: Avulekile Amasango/One Love

Soweto Gospel Choir: Asimbonanga/Biko

Focus Word

Focus Word for 2015 - "Water"

Afrikaans: water (vay-ter)
Sepedi: metsi (meh-tsi)
Setswana: metsi (meh-tsi)
Sesotho: metsi (meh-tsi)

Xhosa beadwork design
Copyright © Julie Olsen

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