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Al Jazeera English - Witness: Battle of Sea Point

Al Jazeera English - Witness: Battle of Sea Point

This film looks at the dilemmas in "reclaiming the streets" of Cape Town's Sea Point and explores the dynamics between development, street crime and community safety as seen by a homeless man and a smooth-talking city councilor.
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Al Jazeera English - Witness: Battle of Sea Point
Category: Documentaries

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Situated on Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard, Sea Point was a traditionally affluent whites-only suburb. Ten years after the fall of Apartheid, it is now radically changed. Entire blocks have been taken over by drug lords, shoot-outs happen in broad daylight and prostitution is openly visible. As a result, property prices have dropped drastically.

JP Smith is a smooth-talking, local city councellor who has taken it as a mission to clean up the streets and restore neighbourhood pride. He is a member of a new and novel protest group made up largely of middle-class and middle-aged residents who call themselves the Yellow Bib Campaign. They put on bright yellow covers and patrol the streets with the aim of making local slum lords, prostitutes and drug dealers so uncomfortable that they leave of their own accord. They also force the homeless to move into communal shelters.

For homeless person, Aubrey Ruiters, the Yellow Bib campaigners are bothersome do-gooders who just want to make the streets appear clean but who are not interested in addressing the underlying causes of poverty and homelessness. Despite his religious beliefs, Aubrey just can't seem to escape the cycle of homelessness, alcoholism and despair.

JP Smith and Aubrey exist in the same town - but are world's apart. They know each other well - and sparks fly when they meet up again in a darkened alley where Aubrey is hoping to sleep. This film investigates the difficulties and dilemmas around "reclaiming the streets" and explores the dynamics between development, street crime, homelessness and community safety.

 

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About Al Jazeera - Witness

Rageh Omaar presents Witness, a half-hour daily documentary series which features short, specially commissioned or acquired films gathered from independent filmmakers.
 
Each documentary reveals the unknown lives of ordinary people, following their lives, telling their stories and portraying the challenges that confront them. Our witnesses are people in a situation or those who have observed them first hand.
 
The films cover conflict, belief, the past and the future and as well as bringing new stories to light they showcase the talents of a new breed of multi-skilled, frontline journalist. In the studio, Rageh will further explore the issues raised in the films, with expert guests on the subject matter and the filmmakers themselves.

 

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Al Jazeera English - Witness: Battle of Sea Point
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