Luister: the viral film exposing South Africa's ongoing racism problem
Documentary featuring black students recounting their experiences of racial discrimination has ignited a national conversation, Daily Maverick reportshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF3rTBQTQk4
“I feel like it’s wrong to be black,” a student says as Luister begins. “I sometimes ask myself when I’m alone, why did God make me black when a lot can happen in a good way when you’re otherwise?”
Made in just 17 days, , Luister (meaning “listen” in Afrikaans) is made up of interviews with 32 students and one lecturer at the prestigious Stellenbosch University, detailing their experiences of racist abuse, discrimination and exclusion.
Since its release on 20 August, the 35-minute documentary has been watched more than 290,000 times on YouTube, trended on social media across South Africa, and is now spreading. It has elicited statements from the university, along with comments from South Africa’s major political parties.
It all started when Dan Corder, a literature student at the University of Cape Town, discovered his friend faced disciplinary charges for participating in a protest led by the Open Stellenbosch, student movement against their university’s language policy which they say clearly favours Afrikaans speakers.
Corder was disturbed by this attempt to clamp down on student dissent, and that night went to Stellenbosch campus to ask black students to write down their experiences of racism at the university. Corder, who is white, was shocked when he read through the responses, and says he became aware of how desensitised the students had become to discriminatory treatment.
Along with this collaborators, a small production company called Contraband Cape Town, Corder wanted to record the responses to one question: “What is it like to be a black person at Stellenbosch University?”
All 32 student interviews were filmed over six hours on 2 August...