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August 28th, 2003
Road to Riches
Introduction

About the Film

A penetrating report on black economic empowerment in post-apartheid South Africa, where whites still earn an average of $6,300 each year, while blacks bring home only $950. The documentary focuses on Uthingo, the consortium of black-empowerment companies that manages the national lottery. Created under legislation enacted by the African National Congress (ANC) government, the lottery is an example of its black economic empowerment principles, designed to help transfer more of the nation’s wealth and opportunity into the hands of South Africa’s black majority. Uthingo won the extremely competitive bid to manage the lottery because its empowerment profile was so strong: currently, 96% of its workers are from previously disadvantaged groups. While Uthingo has created 10,000 new jobs, mostly for black South Africans, broad social change, including black ownership and participation in other industries, is slow in coming. Ironically, buying a lottery ticket may still offer the best chance of riches for many. The film reveals the stark contrasts among the lives of South Africans almost ten years after the demise of apartheid. Some believe they were financially better off before, and while the ANC government of President Mbeki has improved living conditions for black South Africans, the clock is still clearly ticking to do even more to improve life for the black majority — or face the consequences.

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