7-28UP For if you ever need context…

For if you ever need context…

Far too few people in South Africa know about the Up documentary series. A spinoff of the British version, the South African series takes you back to 1992 when the country was in the death throes of apartheid, to interview 20 seven-year-olds from diverse backgrounds about their lives in South Africa. The same children are interviewed in seven-year intervals – at ages 14, 21 and 28 – to track the changes and developments in their lives.

The series, which was broadcast by the Al Jazeera network, makes for captivating viewing. It offers a longitudinal study of how South Africa’s social landscape has changed over time, and explores how these changes impact the lives and character of those growing up in this context.

While the series provides essential insight into the country’s social context – which forms the backdrop for our work at DGMT – it does much more than that: it serves a powerful and thought-provoking conduit for empathy and as such, we believe it should be compulsory viewing for all South Africans.

The South African Up series is produced by award-winning South African director Angus Gibson.

Read more: 28UP: Compelling documentary, compulsory viewing for politicians, by Rebecca Davis (Published by the Daily Maverick on 2 December, 2018)

Population pyramid

In 1992 20 seven-years-olds are interviewed during a time of violence in South Africa and great change. What do they think of their life and relationships with family and friends? Look back into the past to see a country and people about to change.


  • UP documentary video14 UP Part 1: Seven years later we visit the same childen. Now teenagers, they share their thoughts on love, money and violence.
  • UP documentary video14 UP Part 2: In part two, they share their thoughts on race, relationships, fear of violence, and God.
  • UP documentary video21 UP Part 1: Now young adults, the original children share how they navigate work, race relationships and family.
  • UP documentary video21 UP Part 2: Growing up in a period of profound change, they reflect on how poverty, race and violence are still issues faced by South Africans.
  • UP documentary video28 UP Part 1: At 28 many of the original children have changed, but their situations remain the same.
  • UP documentary video28 UP Part 2: The individuals we first filmed at age 7 in 1992 now gives insight into their adult lives and relationships
  • UP documentary video28 UP Part 3: In the final instalment of the 28UP series we look at the lives of the people first filmed in 1992.
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