With all the violent protests happening in our beautiful country- I feel that the film Necktie Youth is both relevant and didactic within the space we, as South Africans, find ourselves in. Taking place on the anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprisings, Necktie Youth follows two best friends, Jabz and September, as they go about exploring the manicured, affluent suburbs of northern Johannesburg in search of answers, drugs and salvation.
This film will always be very close to my heart as it is the first ( of many, I hope) feature films which I stared in. It also is highly acclaimed winning awards at film festivals throughout the world. Not only that, but Necktie Youth, as a film, has opened certain pathways of communication with regards to being young South Africans without a ‘struggle’ of our own. Our parents fought the struggle, Our parents created a democracy, Our parents built a life, Our parents became successful…. and now we should all be living happily ever after, right? WRONG according to Necktie Youth ( and the news).
We are no longer dealing with a South African film solely based on struggles of colour, but rather existential crisis’s. Its been made rather apparent that many people involved in the Apartheid struggle believe that the ‘Born Free’ generation don’t have a struggle ( what utter nonsense) and Necktie Youth is not only here to show you THAT very struggle we are all dealing with but the consequences of being ‘struggle-less’. It may not be a concrete struggle, but a struggle nonetheless. A struggle that is purely the youth’s.
What moved me most about Necktie Youth is its realistic portrayal of South African society today. As the director, Sibs Shongwe La Mer so eloquently puts it “… it’s a film about the hangover that came after the democracy“. Change is here and it is certainly not what we all expected it to be, and it is up to the youth to fix that.
With the release of the film last year on cinema and Box Office and the Fees Must Fall campaign, I feel South Africans are getting a lesson on what the youth of this country are actually capable of. Necktie Youth is made by the youth, for the youth and anyone else who dare get a broader scope of our countries problems.
For anyone out there having issues understanding their moody teenagers or perhaps why the youth is revolting in such a way, I believe Necktie Youth will grant you a bit of clarity.