The coming of age story of a group of Soweto teenagers who surf moving trains.
Over the course of the last 3 years Cinga Productions has been following and documenting the lives of three of the most notorious train surfers in Soweto: Bitch Nigga, Lefa and Mzembe. We have followed them on to the top of trains hurtling through Soweto. We have followed them into the heroin dens of Hilbrow, and jails with names like Sun City - all in the hope of understanding their frustrations and documenting the lives of the new generation of youth in Soweto.
Surfing Soweto is the story of this forgotten generation. Born too long after the demise of apartheid to have anything worth fighting for, but, at the same time, they are also born not long enough after it to reap any of the benefits of freedom. Much as train surfing is an articulation of their impotence and frustrations – so is the Film. By making SURFING SOWETO we hope to give a voice to the unemployed and unemployable youth of Soweto. The people for whom the future holds little hope.
Over the last three years - we have watched their lives fall apart. And we have watched them battling to piece them back together again. Two years ago we cut a version of the story for the SABC’s Special Assignment. (The SABC's flagship current affairs program) The footage of young boys riding trains at speed ducking cables with over 3000 volts of electricity running through them was so dramatic the piece was picked up by CNN and shown in their "untold stories" slot.
But that was only the beginning of the story.
Because then we gave the train surfers cameras and they began to record their own lives - and stories came tumbling out... stories of long lost fathers dying of aids, stories of battling to find their fathers, stories of young men trying to make a mark on a world that couldn't see them. Then two months ago one of these surfers died.
So using the footage they shot, and the footage we shot, we are finally ready to make the film.
SURFING SOWETO is the coming of age story of a group of Soweto teenagers who surf moving trains. It’s DOGTOWN AND THE Z BOYS meets REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It is the story of three young friends in Soweto - thirty years after their township’s famous uprisings.