In one sentence.
It’s 100% local.
As a South African, one cannot be more proud of that. From the setting of the film to the actors, the music, the language used and even the accents. Not only is it 100% local, it’s Cape Flats local.
1. Local is Lekker
I think it’s so easy to write of what’s local and to negate the talent we have in South Africa in comparison to what is international. While South Africa is not Hollywood, it is exactly that. NOT Hollywood. We tend to so easily adopt and accept what comes into South Africa but are frequently cynical and critical of what’s local especially in the entertainment industry. The fact that Four Corners have been nominated for such prestigious awards is evidence of the quality we have here at home.
I’m always wowed when I see amazing architecture and settings in international films and when I initially watched Four Corners I was embarrassed of the setting. I was embarrassed because I thought that why do we have to air our dirty laundry for the world to see? Couldn’t they choose a different location? A better location? It’s quite easy to be ashamed of our heritage hey? But as the film advanced I relised that the setting, the Cape Flats, wasn’t an extra, it was a character in the film. Often a location is chosen that would add a dimension to the film, but in Four Corners, the setting was not only a character but had character. It added such a depth to the film that enforced the message of hardship and hope.
Often, the coloured accent is one that is mocked at from the pronunciation, the dictation and the words used. But I wonder why we don’t ridicule or mock the American accent, or the French and Italian, etc. It’s so easy to once again frown upon what is ours and desire for what is foreign. There is beauty in what is local. It is local that makes us unique, that makes us South African, that makes us Cape Flats. I loved Four Corners for reminding me that.
2. Reality really is a friend of mine
Initially I was skeptical of the story line purely because of what and how the film portrayed the coloured community. I mean why produce something that is so offensive and degrading to me as a part of that community? I sat watching the film and wondered so many times, “what has become of our people?” Yes, while we are all South Africans, it’s a reality that we have different cultures in between and my culture according to the film was flailing. But there is nothing more sobering than reality. To me it was once again a vivid reminder that I could have been a part of that system as it was reality that surrounded me. I recall walking to school in Heideveld often oblivious of the violence and despair that surrounded me but there were times when I was not only aware of that reality but was faced many times with people trying to get their own at another’s expense so that they could make it through another day. My experiences range from being held at knife point too many times that I would want to remember, being threaten at gun point right in front of my own house, robbed numerous times, watched police terrorise the community for no reason, watch gangs declare war to gain more territory without regard to the community, neighbours and families burgling each other, poverty, fear, hopelessness. It’s a Cape Flats reality. It was my reality. Why try to ignore it? It only entrenches that lifestyle.
3. The sun’ll come out tomorrow
It’s political agenda is clear. The Cape Flats is a product of the apartheid system, “This house is mine again. as it was when the government dumped us here. I’m staying. No-one takes away this house again” Farakahn (Brendon Daniels). While the struggles of oppression, violence and hopelessness is ever present, it doesn’t give up on the message of hope. Despite all that surrounds the people, there are those “guardian angels” that take special interest and care in you as was the case with Capt. Tito and Ricardo. It’s a reminder that we are never truly alone. Being alone is due to our own isolation, even when the community rejects you for whatever reason there is always someone who will care.
And finally, everyone has the capacity within themselves to make a difference. While it’s not always possible to steer away from the peer pressure, ultimately it remains just that – Pressure. We either give into it or we don’t. It’s our choice. And when we mess up, there is another chance. It was forcibly displayed in the lives of both Farakhan and Ricardo. We are not that messed up or too far gone for a new beginning.