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What are young people watching?

South Africa


What are young people watching?

‘Black Mirror’ is a science-fiction anthology series that explores a twisted, hi-tech, near-future world. (Image supplied)

With Youth Day approaching, Young Maverick has put together a list of movies, documentaries and series on television that appeal to young people.

BoJack Horseman

 This five-season adult animation television drama is based on the life of an alcoholic, humanoid horse. The story goes that BoJack Horseman was a prominent and successful television star in a now-cancelled show, Horsin’ Around. His life revolved around the show, and in the aftermath of its cancellation in its ninth season, he is left with too much time on his hands, and to his thoughts, which results in him becoming a depressed, cynical, narcissistic alcoholic.

Young people can relate to the show because it tackles issues such as depression, anxiety, alcoholism and poses existential questions such as: What does one need to be happy? How does one find one’s place in the world? BoJack Horseman can be streamed on Netflix.

When They See Us

Based on true events of what became to be known as the “Central Park Five” case, this four-part series brings to the fore the sensitive and volatile issue of race relations and identity politics which have shaped, and continue to shape how we relate to one another. Produced by US film director and producer Ava DuVernay, the series follows the case of five black male teenagers who are framed for having raped a white woman in New York’s Central Park.

The series, a Netflix original, is topical in South Africa, with its history of racial segregation.

Black Mirror

This science-fiction anthology series explores a twisted, hi-tech, near-future world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide. It is set in an increasingly technology-driven society and explores philosophical concepts such as whether human beings have free will or are programmed to think and act in certain ways by our environment.

The show appeals to “woke” or conscious young people who seek to interrogate the world in which they live. For example, in “Men Against Fire,” an episode in the third season of the show, soldiers have chips inserted in their brains that control everything they do. The chips make the soldiers see people as “roaches” that they think are evil and harmful. Their mission is to exterminate these people.

The series, another Netflix original, is in its fifth season.

What we think young people should watch

To commemorate the significance of June 16 and the spirit of young people, we suggest these two picks, which are set in separate eras but share similarities:

Everything Must Fall

This documentary by director and producer Rehad Desai zooms in on the #FeesMustFall student movement that swept South African universities in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education and quickly morphed into what was arguably the most militant national revolt since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their vice-chancellor, Adam Habib.

The actions of students during #FeesMustFall carry echoes of the #June16 events.

The documentary is on Showmax.


Originally a play based on the June 16 youth uprising, Sarafina! was produced by Anant Singh and directed by Darrell Roodt. The film, featuring award-winning actress Leleti Khumalo and US actress Whoopi Goldberg, documents the struggles of young South Africans grappling with the oppressive system of apartheid and Bantu Education.

The last scene of the film captures Sarafina and her schoolmates acting out what they hope a new South Africa will look like when freedom comes. It inspired hope for the future.

Sarafina! will be broadcast on eMovies (DStv Channel 138; Openview Channel 106), on 16 June at 6.15pm, with a rebroadcast-on 17 June 2019 at 3.25pm. DM


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