17 Sep 2011
Released earlier this year, Two Worlds is a documentary that according to its makers, "questions why South Africa has one of the greatest divides between rich and poor." Noting that inequality is no longer a phenomenon exclusive to the developing world and that poverty is now very much prevalent in the developed world, this 28 minute film uses South Africa as a case study to probe questions about inequality for a global audience.
Visit the Two Worlds website to learn more about the making of the documentary as well as the people featured in it.
I think it is obvious that this was made by someone with a naive understanding of South African society. It failed to look at the spatial dimensions of inequality, which would have a higher impact in international audiences, didn't look at the rural urban divide and the pressures of urbanization. It was done primarily through the voice of middle class intellectuals rather than ordinary South Africans. It didn't look at all accurately at what government does or has done and failed to actually name the relevant policies that are reproducing poverty. What I disliked the most was the foreign students patronising remarks about the shack settlements. People fight for their survival, dignity, opportunity and maintain optimism despite all odds in those areas and the documentary made it seem like it was something they should be ashamed of. Why didn't it look at the mansions and gated suburbs and point out how vulgar and shameful those environments are in this context?