Oti Mabuse: My South Africa

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Sociopolitical Documentary hosted by Kim Maddever, published by BBC in 2022 - English narration

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Everyone knows Oti Mabuse from the dance floor of Strictly, but hers has been a long journey to achieve dancing fame in the UK. It started in the townships of South Africa. Oti returns to her childhood home to revisit the people and places that inspired her to be the dancer and woman she is today.

Oti left South Africa over ten years ago, and the country has changed radically since then. She starts back where her family lived: the township of Mabopane near Pretoria. Here, she goes back to her first school and first dance floor, and there are emotional reunions with her parents and with family and friends from her past. She tracks the journey her family have taken out of poverty and recounts the struggles for money, safety and recognition. Oti and her sisters sold flowers on the streets to pay for dance classes. Now she meets up with Aunt Johanna, who is still running the flower stall.

But the township is not the whole story. Oti takes a winding road trip across the country, through breathtaking landscape and unfamiliar places. Along the way, she finds new inspiration from the people she meets: musicians, farmers, dancers, and particularly from the strong women who are building the new South Africa.

She takes in new music and dance styles in Johannesburg, exploring the break-out Amapiano movement created by the young people of the townships. She takes an emotional detour to the huge resort of Sun City - linked in the UK mind with the excesses of apartheid - but to Oti the location of the dance floor where she realized she could be an international star.

She drives across the inhospitable reaches of the desert interior. And she finally stops and visits places that felt unwelcoming when she was on trips with the family as a child. These are the white Afrikaans areas of South Africa, where conflict over land-rights, race and racism are still very much alive.

She stops at an ostrich farm to meet the Afrikaans farmers who have a very different life and outlook to hers. From there she travels further west to meet up with a woman breaking free from the expectations of the country's past: the country's first female black wine-maker. Through education and hard work Ntsiki Biyela has climbed from being a cleaner to make it as a major exporter, and a trail-blazer in a very conservative industry.

Oti ends her trip in Cape Town, home of her middle sister, Phemelo: the only one of the three Mabuse sisters not to be involved in dance and to have remained in South Africa. In Cape Town Oti visits Robben Island and reflects on what happened to Nelson Mandela and the political leaders of her country’s past. And she reflects on the dark history that, as one of the 'Born Free' generation, she never knew first hand.

She is also invited by a dance leader into one of the dangerous townships around the tourist centre of the city, where she comes face to face with poverty and drug addiction: the entrenched problems of the present.

Her experiences make her reconsider the struggles her family had, to give her the life that she has led. And finally this takes her back home to dig more deeply into her own family's past and their struggles under the apartheid system.

Oti is a joyful companion to take us through this beautiful and diverse country, but this is not a traditional celebrity travelogue. As a black African, her perspective on her homeland is deeper, more personal and more nuanced than any casual visitor from the UK could bring. Ultimately Oti finds hope in the changes that have happened, and in the young people and the strong women she meets who are so focused on continuing to drive through that change.

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  • Video Codec: x265 CABAC Main@L4
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 21 (~2635Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps CVBR 48KHz (199Kbps peak)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 58 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 1.12 GB
  • Source: HDTV (1080i/h264 4757Kbps VBR 2.22GB)
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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