AIDs in South Africa and Race
As I mentioned in class, before I came to school I spent sometime working with a public health worker daily on her rounds in the townships surrounding the small town of Plettenberg Bay. The film Yesterday was fairly striking to me due to the struggle which I heard about and to a certain extent saw. Plettenberg Bay is very different from the situation which I was in being a beach town in Western Cape, far removed from the different world of Yesterday in the interior of KwaZululand. The films showing of how women run the towns and seem to be the only ones that are around is something which I saw daily, where young black men are scarce, all of them away in the cities to mine, bringing the scrooge of AIDs and back to their homes. I would like to add a video here which was based on interviews that I did with friend in South Africa about apartheid and AIDs with the surprising results that we found. But, I am waiting for a friend to send me a copy of it. So far, it is only on Facebook and it will not let me imbed the video on here. Hopefully that will fixed soon.
As well, an issue that I found to be the most overlooked in our discussion is the one of race. The only white person that we find in the entire film is the doctor, who happens to speak incredible Zulu despite having many Afrikaner features. Sadly, there are not many well trained black doctors so, this is likely true but, I take issues that this is slightly a white savior role. Yes, the AIDs crisis almost exclusively is an issue that black and colored people in South Africa face but, it is a problem that stems from the structural violence of Apartheid and the deep legacy that it has in combination with the economic realities of the film. Race is a very integral but difficult issue in South Africa and I believe that the film sells itself short by going around the issue.