Film Reflections and a Farewell to Amsterdam

Our last Monday in Durban was definitely an eventful one.  After completing our service learning work, we explored the Glenwood Village shopping area for a bit, tried some authentic Indian curry, and finally met later that evening to watch Tsotsi as a part of the film component of our coursework.  Adapted from the only novel written by renowned South African playwright Athol Fugard, the story depicts the moral struggle of a young Johannesburg man nicknamed Tsotsi (“Thug”).  After shooting a wealthy black woman in the head and stealing her car during a typical night of senseless crime, Tsotsi finds a baby in the backseat of the stolen vehicle.  From this moment, Tsotsi begins to make the surprising attempt to open his heart and take care of this child.  This gradual change in character certainly provokes the viewer to question whether even the most seemingly heartless people are capable of humanity.  Tsotsi is the product of a brutal apartheid regime that contributed to his life of abandonment and moral depravity, yet he cannot bring himself to force the same outcome upon an innocent baby.  This semblance of pity does not ultimately redeem him from his criminal past, but it nonetheless makes the hopeful suggestion that the victims of the apartheid may someday be able to begin anew by choosing to help others rather than resort to violence.

After the film, we attended the open mic Monday event at Amsterdam Bar and Grill for the final time.  We always see a lot of familiar faces at this popular place where bohemian meets grunge.  Every Monday night, Amsterdam hosts an open mic event that showcases the best local acoustic talents.  Most of the artists perform original songs in addition to covers from a variety of popular folk, rock, and country artists.  Paging Mrs. Eastwood, because I’ve already found a few fantastic South African singer-songwriters that I want to bring back to America!

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