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Incredible Screening at Atlas Studios

This month’s film at Atlas Studios first Wednesday film club concluded with the longest and most sincere round of applause I’ve heard since joining the club. Africa shafted: under one roof, provides a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in Ponte, Johannesburg’s most notorious building, during its peak as a home for Africans.

Filming for the documentary started in 2006 and was completed a month before the brutal outbreak of xenophobic attacks across South Africa in August 2008. Through conversations with residents of local and foreign nationality the film, unintentionally acts as a lead up to the outbreak of the attacks. Residents were, for the most part interviewed in the lifts, accomplishing a sense of honesty and authenticity in their accounts of life in Ponte, Johannesburg and South Africa.

The film is an eye opener for the collective South African consciousness as it addresses the still highly prevalent social evils of prejudice and xenophobia. It gives a voice to the African diaspora, an alternative viewpoint of those seen as scary, undeserving, criminals and drug dealers. What you see instead is a hard-working, open-minded people with a dream of a better life.

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