These Streets Belong to Us

These Streets Belong to Us was selected as a finalist in the Africa World Documentary Film Festival 2012 with screenings in Cameroon and the USA. It also screened on DSTV’s Africa Magic channel and at the Jozi Film Festival 2012. 
Distributed By: APT Worldwide

Directed, Written, Produced by Lisa Henry and Shareen Anderson.
A Left Hand Films & Fort Greene Filmworks Co Production.

With one of the highest crime rates in the world, South Africans are struggling with the repercussions of living in a country where they feel they are at the mercy of criminals and that the police cannot protect them. Much of the crime is often accompanied by gratuitous violence; torture, rape and assault often go hand in hand with hijackings and robberies, making the threat of crime so much more terrifying to the average citizen.

South Africa now also has the biggest divide between wealthy and poor in the world, not only between black and white but with a gap that is growing interracially too. Experts believe it is this visible difference between the have and have-nots that adds fuel to the fire in terms of violence and aggression in relation to crime. An average of fifty people a day are murdered in South Africa. It also has the highest rape rate in the world.

So what are communities doing to protect themselves?

These Streets Belong To Us looks at how ordinary South Africans are coping with the scourge of crime and its accompanying violence. The film tells several stories coming out of three different Johannesburg communities; Kensington, a middle class suburb that is jolted into action after a street security guard is murdered while on duty; Alexandra, a mostly poor black township that has formed a community policing forum that patrols the streets in an unconventional way and lends a helping hand to the overburdened police; and Hillbrow, a densely populated inner city neighborhood, which was a “no go” zone for police for many years, but is now undergoing massive regeneration.

Although the film doesn’t shy away from the hard facts and the disturbing stories of grief, loss, and violence, These Streets Belong To Us is balanced with stories of empowerment and grassroots movements, and a hopeful vision of the future for this newly formed democratic society.

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