‘Born Frees’ is the name given to the generation of children born in South Africa as apartheid ended.
Two decades later they are old enough to vote, but what does the legacy of Mandela mean for them?
This week on Dateline, David O’Shea travels to Johannesburg where, with youth unemployment running at 55 per cent, he finds the ‘Born Frees’ deeply disenchanted with the ruling African National Congress (ANC). They are determined to empower themselves through creative arts and self-expression – even if this means they are seen by some to be thumbing their noses at history.
O’Shea meets Mbongeni Tshabalala, a talented young designer who makes t-shirts emblazoned with an offensive racial slur which was used against black people in the apartheid era.
“Is the word as bad as people tell me it is? It is, but only to adults, to the youth it doesn’t have that much of a significance, we’re not affected by that word in any way”, Mbongeni tells Dateline.
Mbongeni’s mother feels differently and says the ‘Born Frees’ should pay more attention to the country’s troubled history.
“I’m not very happy about it also because I’m a child of apartheid; I don’t think they know much about what happened in the past,” she tells Dateline.
Mbongeni also tells Dateline, “I think Nelson Mandela would have loved the t-shirts…He taught us about forgiveness, if he could forgive a whole race I don’t think he’d have a problem with these t-shirts”.
Tuesday, April 29 at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.