South Africans 'going into Africa'

My friend Chipo recently sent me this pilot of a documentary travel series entitled Going Native. Not only was I pleasantly surprised to find Chipo in the pilot as one of the characters, but also found the concept and execution totally refreshing.

Tshego Molete, one of the show’s creators, describes Going Native as

“a travelogue series looking at the continent through the eyes of three young Southern African women. It explores notions of African being, not through conflict or strife, but through celebration… these three young women set out to ‘explore’ the motherland by visiting various cultural festivals and gatherings, hoping to learn how they too are a part of the continent as opposed to being separate from it.

What I found most poignant about the pilot (besides the fact that it’s a female led endeavor) was the admittance and interrogation of how South(ern) Africans see themselves as somehow different to the rest of the continent. I remember how, growing up in Cape Town, people used to talk about going “into Africa.”  This is also where the title comes in. Tshego explains it as a satirical take on the notion of “Going Native”, which was a term used in colonial Africa describing Europeans who came to Africa who then proceeded to acquire some “native” traits. “We take that notion and subvert by applying it to people of the continent, who have been born and bred here, but somehow manage to make the distinction between themselves and the continent.”

Going Native is a Happy Brown Babies production. They are currently working on developing the show into a full series. I can’t wait to see it. Check out more of their work here.



Dylan Valley

My DVDs weigh a ton. Capetonian in Johannesburg. Also Film and Video Editor at Africa is a Country.

  1. Great stuff! Where can I buy the documentary in the US?

    There is case to be made on the notion that South African need to reconnect with the rest of the continent. I’ve never been South Africa, however living in the west and being bombarded every day by recurring news (apologies for my reliance on the news media) on one of the worse form of xenophobia happening in South Africa is very disturbing.

    On a different note, looking back into history one can compare the way Somalian are treated in South Africa with the way black African were treated in South Africa during the British colonial ruling.

    Transforming the social dynamic in South Africa as far as the relationship with other Africans is concerned start with such project. kudos two these wonderful three ladies!!

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