South Africa Up series

14Up South Africa – Part Two

We follow the 20 South African children, now 14, as they talk about race, relationships, fear of violence, and God.

The South Africa ‘Up’ series follows the personal journeys of a diverse range of young South Africans, born in the apartheid era. 


by ”Shane”

very important, I believe He’s the only person you can trust in this world and your parents, in today’s life, God and your parents [are the] only people you can trust.”]

We filmed them every seven years as they grew up through the country’s dramatic political changes.

In the second part of 14Up South Africa, we revisit the 20 young people we first filmed in 1992 when they were seven years old. It is now 1999 and Mandela is nearing the end of his term as president. The first non-racial elections in 1994 brought huge political change to the country but the challenge now is to match this with social and economic transformation. 

And while in many ways these young 14-year-olds are the ‘Mandela generation’, with new opportunities in the young democracy, they are also just like teens anywhere else in the world. Fourteen is as much a time for hanging around with friends as it is for exploring your identity, your relationships and the world around you.

This episode includes their reflections on issues such as crime and the fear of violence that haunts so many of their lives, as well as their understanding of what has and has not changed in South Africa over the past five years of majority rule.

They also talk about the role that religion plays in their lives, their burgeoning views on relationships and sex, and their dreams for their futures. As frank and forthright as ever, their honestly about the complex world around them, is both delightful and insightful.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of eight films that follows the characters at age 7, 14, 21 and 28. 

This film was first broadcast on Al Jazeera English in November 2013