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A Culturally Defined Nation Essay

1891 words - 8 pages

Nothing defines a nation greater than it’s culture. The culture is the unifying force that brings the people, the economy, and the politics into one. For the people it’s a sense of belonging. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the souls of its people.” The culture ultimately establishes a traditional set of morals that lives on through the people to be passed on through generations. It becomes a part of life that even the most different of people can relate back to. The film Tsotsi emphasizes the power of culture, and how culture defines a nation, the people within a nation, and how the people behave.
The film Tsotsi sets itself around the slums of Johannesburg and utilizes a comparison between the people in the slums and people who got out in the post-apartheid era. This time of history in South Africa was a time of recovery. A time where people were figuring out who they really were and what they wanted to do. Historically, the Apartheid had been a relevant part of the South African culture for over forty-five years and was the only thing that many people knew. It was an era of separation and an era of unfairness where all the races were forced to segregate, primarily blacks and whites. The Race Laws touched every aspect of life, including a
prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of “white only” jobs.(4) When it ended it dramatically changed the culture of the nation, mainly because during the Apartheid there was not much culturally. There was music that was used to lift up spirits, plays were performed to express the helplessness, and small community gatherings were put together. The only relevant thing pushing the people were each other. That was the culture that was created during this time and has set the tone of the South Africa ever since. In relation to Tsotsi, the cultural community feeling can be felt. In the slums everyone is dependent upon each other to live another day. No one is alone. Even Tsotsi, the gangster, had his team to push him and vice-versa.(8) As a result of the community setting, people began to grow and make their way out of the slums and into the housing communities surrounding the Johannesburg area, officially ending the Apartheid era. This including John and Pumla Dube, the couple who had their child stolen by Tsotsi.(8)
The formation of culture in a nation directly affects the way people express themselves. Within South Africa, expression is primarily through music. Music is one of the few things all humans can relate to, so it almost always gets a message across. It has an innate ability to affect the emotions of people and the outlooks they perceive. The most prevalent time of musical expression in South Africa was during the apartheid. Many people were distraught and the creation of music was a safe way to express feelings and emotions. What can be seen from this are the differences in musical tone throughout the...

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