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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Children > Africa > AIDS > 21 Up South Africa – Mandela’s Children (2006/Documentary/First Run Features DVD)

21 Up South Africa – Mandela’s Children (2006/Documentary/First Run Features DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



Inspired by the Michael Apted UP series, Angus Gibson has been conducting his own such documentary series following children every seven years as they grow, but this time it is from a changing South Africa and 21 Up South Africa – Mandela’s Children (2006) as the children go from Apartheid to an AIDS crisis.  The original UP series has been issued in separate volumes and as a complete set.  For more about the initial concept, go to this link:





It could have fallen into formula, but the situation is so different and the idea of other AIDS viruses that go beyond sexual contact killing and leaving children orphans everyday is chilling and even more chilling, ignored and highly underreported in U.S. media.  This chapter in the series becomes one of the most disturbing records of that nightmare and competes easily with the stories, adding irony to the successes, failures, progress and regress of the subjects.  Gibson has made a series equal to Apted’s so far.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image is soft but not as bad as you might expect for such a transfer.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is location audio and simple stereo at best, as expected.  Extras include text filmmaker bio, more about the UP series and gallery of production stills.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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