Grow­ing up af­ter apartheid

‘You can’t change your past, but you can de­cide on your fu­ture’

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - AT THE MOVIES -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.