Chicago Public School Students “Host” Robben Island Singers via Skype Video Chat

By Alan Slavik
Published: June 16, 2010

Flip video shot by Groundswell intern Candyce Jones.

Groundswell co-founder Jeff Spitz recently screened a rough cut of Robben Island Singers at Prosser Career Academy High School on Chicago’s West Side. Thirty-five students watched the film and then were able to ask questions to singers Muntu Nxumalo and Thembinkosi Sithole in South Africa via Skype.

Students said they liked going back and forth from South Africa to the US and having a live conversation with the ex-political prisoners. They liked the “real lives” theme of the film.

“Both sides liked the way that stereotypes in both countries are broken down by music, film, and international exchange,” Spitz said.

Students said they appreciated the chance to see a film work-in-progress.

“Kids did not want a shorter version, because they want to experience the whole journey of the singers,” Spitz added. “They understand the message about forgiveness and they discussed the fact that the Singers did not choose to become fighters, rather that conditions led them to fight for a higher cause. For freedom and equality.”

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