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by Erika Haslup

 

The film We Are Together (Thina Simunye) is an incredibly moving documentary that goes deep into the heart of Agape, a South African orphanage, and into the world of 12-year-old Slindile and her family.

The film concerns three years of Slindile’s life and gives viewers a chance to experience the turmoil that infects the life of Slindile, her family, and her friends in the orphanage.

Many of the children in the Agape Orphanage are there because their parents died of AIDS. Slindile’s parents died when she was very young, and because her older siblings were unable to take care of her, they were forced to send Slindile and her four younger siblings to Agape.

The children of Agape face uncertain futures, but they unite their voices together with song. South African pop star, Zwali, said that music is a huge part of life in South Africa. He says that with so many problems surfacing, everyone cannot speak at the same time, but “…we can all sing at once.”

Agape’s children have beautiful voices, that harmonies warm your heart long after leaving the movie theater. Slindile’s voice resonates with a tone of strength, sounding much older than his 12 years.

It is through song that the children of Agape find a way to raise awareness of their situation and hope to use it as a way to bring money to their orphanage. The children work together to prepare for their big break, but tragedies get in the way. The orphanage’s trip to England, in hopes to raise funds for Agape, is cancelled, Slindile’s brother contracts HIV and passes away, and a fire erupts in the orphanage.

Yet through it all, the children of Agape remain strong. They persevere, and eventually they find a way. Alicia Keys, co-founder of Keep A Child Alive, gets the children to New York and has them become the face of her charity’s campaign. The kids perform with Alicia Keys and Paul Simon to help raise awareness of the troubles in Africa, and are able to raise money to help rebuild their home. By the end of the film you will be left with a feeling of hope and the will to never give up.

The Agape Orphanage founder, Zodwa Mqadi, tells you at the beginning of the film that the word agape means love, everlasting love. And it is through this film that you are able to see how love, whether in song or spoken, is truly a blessing that the children of Agape share with the viewer.

 
 
 

 

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