CBS reports on South Africa's future

CBS Reports: Children of Apartheid CBS, tomorrow, 8-9 p.m. Reporter: Walter Cronkite. Writer-producer: Brian T. Ellis. Executive producer: E.S. Lamoreaux III. ``I have one great fear in my heart,'' Walter Cronkite quotes the black minister in Alan Paton's ``Cry the Beloved Country'' as saying. ``That one day, when the whites are turned to loving, they will find that we have turned to hating.''

``Children of Apartheid'' is, on the surface, a sad and simple film consisting mainly of a series of interviews reflecting the many voices of young South Africans, black and white.

Most of them agree that the time for black freedom has come. But there are some dissenters as well, though not many.

Beneath the surface, however, ``Children of Apartheid'' is a furious film, one determined to spur the world to action through the examples it portrays.

Since the Pretoria regime denied Mr. Cronkite a working journalist's visa, he was forced to visit as a tourist. So writer-producer Brian Ellis asks all of the on-camera questions.

That doesn't prevent Cronkite, however, from digging deeply off camera and coming up with incisive reactions to what he was able to see and hear.

His final conclusion was almost inevitable: ``The future of that tragically divided land, as with all nations, will be inherited by its children..., but their choices may already have been limited by too many generations of apartheid.''

Perhaps the most effective segments, aside from the shocking reports of the mistreatment of preteen youngsters in prison, are those that shrewdly juxtapose interviews with the daughters of two major South African figures, President P.W. Botha and political prisoner Nelson Mandela.

The graphic contrast between the life styles and political attitudes of Roxanne Botha and Zinzi Mandela reveals more about the underlying problems of apartheid than thousands of words could.

As a young white boy named Neal says in the conclusion, ``The blacks have ... seen their father and grandfather and great grandfather ... wait for change to come. And it hasn't come. So, now they've got up and said, `Enough's enough! I want change before I die.'''

And, as a masked young black says while planning a terrorist attack on an enemy, ``Whether the change comes in my lifetime or during the time of my children, I don't know. But the only thing I know is that I shall be free.''

This latest ``CBS Reports'' presentation doesn't provide any new information about how white South Africa treats its young blacks.

If there is any startling revelation, it concerns the rising determination on the part of some young white South Africans to take a more active part in discussing the freeing of their black brothers.

``Children of Apartheid'' is a film produced in quiet desperation.

In its own indirect way, by allowing the young to reveal their attitudes, unencumbered by the presence of authorities, it has an impressive, cumulative power. And it conveys a strong plea for action before it is too late.

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