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Johannesburg, 14 April 2016: To some people, the defining image of contemporary South Africa has changed – it’s no longer of Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu; it is of students with their hands in the air in protest, surrounded by flames, riot police…

Commissioned by Africa’s leading youth brands MTV (DStv channel 130) and MTV Base (DStv channel 322), and directed by South African documentary maker Lebogang Rasethaba, The People vs The Rainbow Nation goes behind the headlines and the news footage to investigate what has driven this post-Apartheid generation to mobilise mass action campaigns#rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall, asking why South African youth believe the struggle is far from over, more than 20 years after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
Commented Dillon Khan, Head of MTV, Africa “The People vs the Rainbow Nation follows the contrasting lives of students of different ethnicities from four different South African universities in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Pretoria, asking if equal rights have meant equality, and whether the promise of the Rainbow Nation is still alive and kicking, or if the dream is tarnished beyond repair.”

Talking about his goals in making the documentary, Lebogang Rasethaba commented, “We think it’s important to have a film that will help the future generations navigate the various manifestations of power in society with a lot more clarity and insight; that’s what the film is really striving to do. We wanted to make a film that we wished someone had made when we were young to help us make sense of the construct of society, how to engage the systems of power at play and where we as individuals fit in in all of this.”

Among the explosive statements expressed by young people during the documentary are:

I don’t believe in the Rainbow Nation, the Rainbow Nation to me is a fallacy, because it doesn’t exist.”  – Azra (20), Johannesburg

We talk about ’94 as this momentous point in our country’s history, but we didn’t change anything, really, structurally and institutionally – we just… added blacks.” Gugulethu Mhlungu(27), Lifestyle Editor, City Press, Radio 702, Cape Talk

While race dominates the conversation, the documentary raises complex questions about education, economic Apartheid, white privilege, colonialism, sexism, governance, patriarchy and classism as viewed by young people in today’s South Africa.  Well known commentators and media personalities also weigh in with their thoughts, including comedian Nina Hastie, Afro-jazz singer Simphiwe Dana, musician and author Nakhane Toure, TV & Radio personality Gareth Cliff, rapper and producer Reason, poet and activist Lebohang Nova Masango, Mail and Guardian Arts editor Milisuthando Bongela, TV and radio personality Pearl Thusi, and radio presenter and City Press Lifestyle editor, Gugu Mhlungu.

The People versus the Rainbow Nation premieres on MTV (DStv channel 130) on Thursday 21 April @ 21:15 and on MTV Base (SA) on Wednesday 27 April at 12:00 CAT.

The People versus the Rainbow Nation is a film directed by Lebogang Rasethaba and produced by Allison Swank of Arcade Content on behalf of MTV.

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