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SOUTH AFRICA
School CP - January 1999



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Corpun file 3775

Cape Argus, Cape Town, 21 January 1999

Schools crisis theme in SABC1 drama

By Bianca Coleman

Education in South Africa has been in a state of crisis for a long time, and the breakdown of teaching and learning in high schools is a national concern.

SABC1, together with the Department of Education's Culture of Learning, Teaching and Services (COLTS), will present Yizo Yizo, a gripping, uncompromising 13-part television drama which tackles these concerns head-on. The programme begins on Wednesday, January 13, at 8.30pm.

Loosely translated, Yizo Yizo means "This is it". Research carried out by production house Laduma Film Factory identified problems in schools including corrupt and weak teachers, drugs, rape and gang violence, and concern among teachers about the banning of corporal punishment.

Yizo Yizo promises a compelling narrative and credible characters that reflect what is happening in many township schools.

The intention is to go beyond merely stimulating debate to creating powerful pupil/teacher role models who work together to change things for themselves.

The series is set at Supatsela High, a township school with a good reputation, reflecting the efforts of its strict and conservative principal. His authoritarian style, however, holds together by force a situation which is fundamentally unsound.

Social life among the pupils is dominated by a series of cliques which overlap to varying degrees.

The smaller dramas of high school life, social confidence, academic success, emerging identities and sexualities are played across and within the boundaries of these groups.

Yizo Yizo features well-known actors like Patrick Shai (Fools, Jason Modjadji), Pearl Nomonde Gongxeka (Soul City, Inside Info), Charmaine Mtinta (Generations, Missing Link), S'thandiwe Msomi (Generations, Artefacts) and Patrick Ndlovu (Sarafina, Cry The Beloved Country).

It is directed by Oscar nominee Angus Gibson (Mandela) and Teboho Mahlatsi (Ghetto Diaries).

The series rejects the common South African TV practice of separating languages, presenting at least seven languages and reflecting the natural interaction between South African people. This should give Yizo Yizo greater appeal as it can be understood by a large cross-section of the population.

All Material copyright Independent Newspapers 1998.

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