On Friday, April 19, Sifuna Okwethu (We Want What’s Ours), an award-winning short documentary about a South African family’s struggle to regain land that was stolen during Apartheid, screened at Chicago-Kent College of Law, as part of a larger conversation about land dispossession in South Africa. As part of that discussion, Erika George, Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and the director of the board of the non-profit organization Documentaries to Inspire Social Change (DISC), introduced human rights issues raised for black South Africans post-Apartheid concerning property and lending which has corporate social responsibility implications and access to justice for past injuries during the prior Apartheid regime.
Prior to being screened in various festivals, including the Africa World Film Festival, where it won the Short Documentary Audience Choice Award, Sifuna Okwethu (We Want What’s Ours) was screened by George and a group of University of Utah human rights students, including Candace Gibson, Vivianne Elizabeth Api Mbaku, Jessica Ashley Samowitz, Cyrus Wiseman, Garreth Long, Laurie Evans Abbott, Victoria Ward, Samora Magadia, and Kurt David Reber, who provided comments to film editors as part of a focus group.
“I expect to continue to use my human rights class as a ‘co-lab,’ or space to collaborate on the use of documentary film in human rights education in order to raise awareness of issues and offer context to legal texts on human rights,” George said.