18 Feb A Q&A With The Team Behind The Camps Bay ‘Alternative Township’ Tour Video
This video by a young team from Livity Africa has been accumulating thousands of views and has been featured across major news and media platforms over the last few days. The video calls for reflection on South African ‘township tours’, and what the experience may be like for locals, by not filming in a township at all but rather flipping the concept on its head and visiting Cape Town’s affluent Atlantic Seaboard.
The social experiment of sorts was initiated by photographer Andiswa Mkhosi and stems from her annoyance with the way in which tourists visiting Langa take photos of the people who live there without first asking permission. In an article for Live Mag, Sabelo Makheba, who shot the video, writes, “To say I hate township tours is an understatement. I loathe to witness tourists being dropped off in busloads “to see how people live”. It’s treating the township like a zoo and it’s plain disrespectful. It invades people’s private spaces, with strangers taking pictures of them while they try to go about their daily routines.”
In response Andiswa and Sabelo, together with Onele Liwani, spent time in Camps Bay – a wealthy Cape Town neighbourhood but also another popular tourist spot, for different reasons – to film the reactions of the locals here to being photographed without permission or empathy. The footage they captured speaks for itself.
We were interested to know more about the creative team’s experience.
Please let us know your reasons for making the Camps Bay Suburb ‘Alternative Township’ Tour video?
Sabelo: We were commissioned to make some news reports for eNCA from the point of view of the youth. We made one about township tours and how they can be re-invented by young people.
Andy, Onele, Sabelo: During the process of making this, we came up with the idea of turning the cameras onto the tourists – filming a reverse township tour. And to see how people from affluent areas are viewed compared to how people would be viewed in the townships. We wanted to see how people in the suburbs would react to the same thing that happened in the township.
What was your experience like making it?
Andy: At first I was cool with the idea. Then when it came to the day, I had fear when approaching people.
Onele: I wasn’t scared…I thought, I am going to do this…because I want to see what their reactions are going to be. I was curious, then afraid. When the shit happened, then I started shaking .
What did you find out in the process?
The obvious. It’s exactly what we had expected.
How big of a role does the editing play? Were their other interactions you experienced that weren’t as confrontational that you left out or was what we see in the video a good representation of the general attitude you encountered?
In the editing, we included everyone we spoke to. As we walked around one or two groups of people we just photographed and they ignored us. We decided to blur out the faces of the angry man and the security guy because we aren’t trying to point fingers at individuals necessarily…we are just trying to make a point about ownership of spaces.
What has the response to the video been like?
Overwhelming!!! We didn’t know it was going to go viral. We thought it would just be YouTube comments but then the media attention is overwhelming. Times, YFM, Cape Talk, SAFM, Africa is a Country, Media 24…
Do you have plans for a follow-up?
No plans at the moment. We are discussing the next step.
You can watch more videos by Livity Africa’s content platform, LiveSA on their Youtube channel where they’re doing a fantastic job sending young journalists out onto the streets to ask South Africans pressing and relevant questions about the social and political state of affairs in the country. We asked Tamara Maclachlan, the video mentor at LiveSA, to let us know more about the plans for this platform. She said, “We started the YouTube channel 3 years ago to complement the print magazine and since then we have gone purely digital. Livity Africa is a youth content agency. As well as creating content for clients we make funded content which started with the Voting is Power Campaign (VIP) which went live during the 2014 elections and now we have Live from Parliament. Both these raise awareness around political issues affecting young people in South Africa. We are currently making a series of news inserts for eNCA from the point of view of the youth. Our plan for LiveSA is to carry on teaching young interns media skills – video, photography and journalism but to also develop into a production company.”