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Sunday, April 29, 2007

And yet we have another Historical (and Shameful) moment.....about Skin

Finding the above video is what can happen when one takes a midnight stroll down the corridors of Youtube. Skin is a harrowing tale of what occurs when identity, racism and politics collide in the midst of South Africa's apartheid regime during the latter part of the 20th century. Here is a synopsis of the film (still in mid-production and in need of funding) from the Elysian Films website:

Ten-year-old Sandra is distinctly African looking, though light-skinned. Her parents are shopkeepers in a remote area of the Eastern Transvaal: white Afrikaners who, despite Sandra’s mixed-race appearance, have lovingly brought her up as their ‘white’ little girl. They send her to the local boarding school, where her brother has gone before her.

Yet other parents, teachers and children at the school react strongly to Sandra’s ‘African’ looks — and, for the first time in her life, she is made painfully aware of being different.

Within a year, she is examined by State officials, reclassified as ‘coloured’, and expelled from the school. Sandra’s parents are horrified. Her father Abraham fights through the courts to have her reclassified as white. Despite taking blood tests to prove that Sandra is his (and his wife’s) daughter, Abraham looses the case. But international pressure forces the laws to change in South Africa — and Sandra is officially classified as white again. Nevertheless, she and her family are ostracised by the white community.

Hopefully, this film will get the additional funding that it needs to be completed. What makes this film especially fascinating is how racial classification differed under the Dutch regime of South Africa in comparison with good ol' fashioned North American racism. In America, I would posit that the parents would have been classified as Black, especially based on their child's obvious African phenotype. Nevertheless, this is a story that must be told-which I hope all of our readers will be paying close attention for its eventual release. If you have an interest in submitting contributions to help this film reach its intended audience, click on the Elysian Films website link below:

Elysian Film's Skin

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