Monday, August 11, 2008
We Are Together: Orphans in South Africa sing
We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir (“Thina Simunye”), directed by Paul Taylor, written with Slindile Moya, is a documentary about a children’s orphanage in South Africa. HBO presented it on August 11, 2008. Much of the story is seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Slindile. The children have been orphaned by the parents’ dying of AIDS, and some have siblings with AIDS. They find that singing this the one activity they can always do together. Paul actually came up with the idea of the film on a volunteer mission trip.
They travel to Britain, and eventually to New York State and New York City (in winter), to raise money for their orphanage, which burns once and must be rebuilt.
The music consists mostly of a cappella singing of spirituals, with some accompaniment when they travel.
The film shows graphic scenes of illness in a couple of spots. Women in this culture often become infected with HIV despite monogamy. Abstinence or the use of protection is not practical for women in this culture. Blood loyalties are extreme, and children readily accept responsibility for siblings.
The scenery is rather lush compared to what often appears in South Africa. The political history of the people, relative to past apartheid, isn't presented.
There is a link at which the film can be watched, at "Snag Films", here.