72
August 8, 1997

Trek

An idiosyncratic first-person travelogue about race relations and tourism from radio producer Rich Robinson and television producer Josh Seftel. Their radio story is about a trip they took to the new South Africa. Rich Robinson is black. Josh Seftel is white. The interracial pair travel through the still mostly-segregated society and have very different opinions about what they see, especially when it comes to some distant relatives of Josh's in South Africa.

Prologue

More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring. In this prologue, we hear excerpts from a speech Robert Kennedy gave in South Africa in 1966 and an interview with South Africa writer Lewis Nkosi, who remembers how black South Africans imitated black Americans and looked to the American experiment for hope — as many Americans now look to South Africa for hope. (6 minutes)

Act One

The first part of Josh Seftel and Rich Robinson's documentary about South Africa. Josh meets people who may be distant South African relatives. He likes them. But because his black friend is with him, he's very nervous that they might be racists. Quizzing them at length at dinner, he finds that one of them is one of Nelson Mandela's doctors. Their kids were very active in the struggle against apartheid. Rich, however, is disturbed by the way they talk about their servants and talk to their servants, and the way they talk to him. Figuring the only way they'll get along again is if they hit the road and get away from Josh's relatives, they start a trek across South Africa, first stopping in an African village. (22 minutes)

Act Two

Josh Seftel and Rich Robinson's trek across South Africa continues. They head to the "South African Woodstock" and to a group that's half Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign and half terrorist campaign. They have more fights about what they're seeing. They have another set of encounters with Josh's family — these far more ambiguous in their meaning. Rich's opinion softens. Josh's changes too. (26 minutes)

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