Growing up after apartheid
‘You can’t change your past, but you can decide on your future’
THE film begins in Eksteenfontein, an isolated town in the Northern Cape, where Vaselinetjie, an 11-year old girl is bullied at a school for brown children – she is white and is being raised by her brown grandparents.
When Vaselinetjie questions her grandmother, she simply answers, “We are what the dear Lord made us, we have to accept that. God doesn’t make mistakes.’’
Vaselinetjie has to navigate growing up in post-apartheid South Africa.
However, when the welfare discovers that Vaselinetjie isn’t the couple’s biological child, they decide to send her to a state orphanage in Johannesburg.
There she is confronted with the cruel and rude orphanage world where she has to become just like the other orphanage children to ensure her own survival.
She has to overcome the hard knocks of life in the big city, where realities are harsh and where she learns not to care about anyone.
She makes friends, runs away from the orphanage, starts swearing and meets Texan Kirby, a rebellious boy who offers her her first cigarette.
At the age of 16 Vaselinetjie has adapted well to life at the orphanage. She walks, talks and looks just like the “Peppies”(the children in town’s nickname for them).
Then, after a close encounter with a gang during a holiday by the sea, a passionate affair begins between Vaselinetjie and Texan.
She also discovers Texan is a gang leader’s half-brother and their mother is a brown domestic worker in Cape Town.
But Vaselinetjie promises to keep Texan’s secret.
Back at the orphanage, her best friend tries to commit suicide.
After that trauma, Vaselinetjie undergoes a life transformation.
She decides it’s time to show everyone who she is and as a result, invites her grandparents to a fund raising event at the orphanage.
However, she doesn’t tell Texan about her origins and when he meets her brown grandparents at the function, he ends their relationship.
Vaselinetjie is heartbroken, but after her welfare worker tells her, “you can’t change your past, but you can decide what you want to do with your future”, she decides to focus on her own future and not allow others opinions to affect her life.
At the end of her matric year, Vaselinetjie finally returns to her grandparents and her home town in the Northern Cape where her origin is revealed. – Good Weekend reporter
Marguerite van Eeden stars as Vaselinetjie.