Cue Day 1. The day kicked off with a big announcement: poet, feminist and anthropology student, Lebogang ‘Nova’ Masango, would be joining the VIP Campaign. What could possibly top that?
How about a screening of Roger Young’s “Keys Money Phone” – a film about a young, white Capetonian man who forgets his keys, money and phone in a cab, leaving him locked out of his apartment. This incident is then followed by many, often aggressive, attempts to get assistance from his friends and strangers, who are put off by his apparent entitlement.
After the film, we had a ‘young’ discussion about the political themes we identified in the film such as race and white privilege. It came as a bit of a surprise that these were the themes the audience found most striking. Especially considering the fact that during a Q & A session with Roger Young, he spoke about how he was trying to make a film that was “not political”.
The heated and contentious debate that followed the Q & A session was anything but “not political”. The room was divided, with people arguing over the notion of white privilege but judging from the comments shared, the consensus was that white privilege does exist and is pervasive in South African society.
After a quick lunch (yay for free food!), some of the photographers exhibiting at our event spoke about how their work told the story of today’s youth. During this discussion we got a glimpse into the mind of the often elusive photographers. Fascinating creatures! Chaired by Siyabonga Mkhasibe, we learnt how they viewed their role as young storytellers using the power of imagery. You can still check out the exhibition, which will be running until Thursday, 18 June.
Then we were treated to some poetry by Nova. Her poem titled ‘To Do List for Africa’ was written in response to Chimamande Ngozi Adichie’s notion of Africa’s single story. The poem, unlike the single story of Africa, highlighted the diversity and potential of Africa. Her second poem titled ‘The House That We Built’ painted a picture of a house of horrors that is South Africa. She spoke of how we, as South Africans, created a country that is rife with injustices. She concluded on an optimistic note with a simply titled ‘Johannesburg’, an ode to the city of Johannesburg.
Continuing on a lighter, more optimistic note, we saw the Jacob Zuma parody video in which the giggling man from ‘Nkhaaaaandla’ shot down all his opponents. The video, which was created by Live Magazine videographer, Nadine Kutu, parodied the biggest scandals surrounding the president. Do check it out on the Live Magazine SA Youtube channel.
Laz Gola and friends warmed us up with some quintessentially South African jokes before the live eNCA debate. The debate, covering themes such as race, relationships and unemployment was facilitated by Siki Mgabadeli with Eddie Ndopu, Lethabo Bogatsu, Kavisha Pillay and Erin Bates on the panel. Comments from the panelists and audience members showed the wide range of opinions held by the South African youth, reinforcing the problematic nature of defining the youth as a homogenous group and trying to label issues as simply “youth” issues. The debate ended with the question “where to from here?” The answer was ambiguous, with panelists expressing both optimism and pessimism.
After a tense and insightful debate, attendees bobbed their heads to some hip-hop just before Reason hit the stage – winding down the day with a turn up nyana. What a day Youth Day 2015 was. Drops mic.
If you’ve missed out on today, askies ne? There’s always tomorrow and Thursday. So don’t miss out! Come through to the Live Mag space at 73 Juta, 4th floor and be part of the festivities of the VIP Youth Festival.
Photography by @IamTheMaz