The Cape Flats near Cape Town in South Africa are renowned for their large-scale violence. It is very difficult for young people to escape the violence, drugs and criminality.
The inhabitants once lived in the centre of Cape Town, but the apartheid regime forced them to the barren plains at the Cape Town coast. One of the worst neighbourhoods is Manenberg. At one point the schools were closed down because it had become too dangerous to go to school.
Only a small part of the youngsters manages to graduate and faces a better future. That is celebrated with a graduation prom. And because it is not at all self-evident for someone to graduate, families go through great lengths to make the prom an unforgettable experience. Princess dresses, luxury cars... it's a sharp contrast with the rough world they live in. This one night allows them to, however briefly, escape reality.
The story is part of a larger project about young people in South Africa by Elles van Gelder and Ilvy Njiokiktjien. In 2014, the so-called 'born free generation', South Africans born after the apartheid, will be voting for the first time. This generation has been able to grow up without discrimination because of the colour of their skin. Both journalists look at young South Africa through the eyes of that generation. What has changed? Do black teenagers really have better chances than their parents?