Four Acts is a documentary about the 2007 public servants strike in South Africa, which was the first time that Black South Africans had rebelled against its Black government. My colleague and I took a group of students with us to teach in the rural schools of the Eastern Cape, and ended up learning about the real world experiences of teachers in South Africa and about ourselves.
Why is it called Four Acts?
The film is called Four Acts because it looks at the core 4 acts that created the systems of oppression in society and the educational system that still influence education today. The message is that the past is connected to the future and when problems aren’t dealt with in a meaningful way (Bantu system of education), then the effects are far-reaching (public servants strike).
Why is this important?
The public servants strike in South Africa was a turning point for the Black South Africans (Xhosa) who are the majority. Previously, the enemy/oppressor had been White South Africans. This was the first time in the country’s history that Black South Africans rebelled against a Black government. This strike highlighted how power and access function in society, such that Blacks are now the oppressors of Blacks in the country. This is a turning point for South Africa as we move further into the 21st century in terms of defining who they are, where they want to go and how to get there. Education is always thought to be the preferred route to power, but Black South Africans are learning that the system is so broken that the majority will still be locked out of power. The turning point of the power struggle was when the public servants (teachers, nurses, police officers) were denied a 12% raise, while government officials including then President Mbeki received exorbitant raises, which is why they decided to strike.
Where’s the Trailer?
It’s coming soon. Check back in about a week.
Who Made this Film?
This film was written, directed and produced by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., who shot most of the film. Dr. Lajerne Terry Cornish serves as producer, Dr. Eric Singer as historical consultant and Daniel St. Ours is producer and editor of the film. Running time: 42 minutes.