White South African teens wrestle with an uncertain identity. An extreme right-wing group is teaching young Afrikaners to eschew Nelson Mandela’s vision of a multicultural rainbow nation. The fringe group Kommandokorps organizes camps during school holidays where Afrikaner teenagers learn self-defense and how to combat a perceived black enemy. The group’s leader, self-proclaimed ‘Colonel’ Franz Jooste, served with the South African Defence Force under the old apartheid regime. The teenagers are taught (brainwashed might be a more accurate term) that they are their own people — not South Africans but Afrikaners — and that they shouldn’t integrate in the new democratic South Africa.
This disturbing multimedia production about the racist, right-wing organization was awarded 1st Prize in Multimedia by World Press Photo. The story was made by Dutch journalist/videographer Elles van Gelder & Dutch photojournalist Ilvy Njiokiktjien in conjunction with their production company froginatent.com.
In many ways, this multimedia approach (artfully blending video, still photography, sound, interviews, investigative journalism, and compelling story-telling) is the ideal way to raise public awareness of these atrocities. In fact, it stirred up so much controversy in South Africa, that the racist leader depicted in this piece went into hiding and changed his physical appearance out of fear. It’s also interesting to note that this is the very first multimedia production put together by this young team. We’re eager to see more from them in the future.