Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children (BBC Four)
2010 | True Vision
Zimbabwe is a nation with shining, modern cities and breathtaking natural beauty, but also one with hideous poverty and squalor. Its repressive government is happy to show off the former, just not the latter. Indeed, anyone who attempts to film the decrepit shanty towns or children mining garbage dumps for re-sellable bottles or junk risks arrest and imprisonment. Producer Xoliswa Sithole and her director/cameraman, Jezza Neumann, took the risk, conning their way into Sithole’s homeland on the pretense of making a film about her childhood. The footage they got on the sly is amazingly sharp and clear, even artful at times, and the interviews they recorded — 9- and 10-year-olds describing their daily struggles to find food or care for ailing siblings or parents — are heartbreaking. Shrewdly juxtaposed with nature scenes and shots of well-heeled politicians, the surreptitious footage puts the lie to government propaganda. For its daring, its skill and its poignancy, Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children receives a Peabody Award.
Executive producers: Brian Woods, Deborah Shipley. Reporter and producer: Xoliswa Sithole. Filmed and directed by: Jezza Neumann. Editor: Reg Clarke, Jezza Neumann. Assistant editor: Paddy Garrick. Online editor: Sean Lewis. Colorist: Andrew Daniel.
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