Necktie Youth
First-time director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer depicts a raw and captivating post-apartheid Johannesburg in Necktie Youth

After a successful international festival circuit run, critically acclaimed film Necktie Youth will make its South African debut at the Durban International Film Festival on Friday, 17 July.

The groundbreaking debut feature from 23-year-old Sibs Shongwe-La Mer follows two young Johannesburg suburbanites, Jabz and September, as they aimlessly rummage through a day filled with drugs and a melancholic navigation of their suburban, post-apartheid reality.

A suicide that haunts their loosely connected circle of friends anchors this portrait of gilded, affluent South African youth.

"As a member of the first free generation of youths, as well as a son born to a family that places itself among the first of the Western educated and globalized middle class black South Africans, I found myself positioned in a space not often synonymous with Africans. That of privileged, educated, young Zulus," says Shongwe-La Mer in his director's statement.

He adds that he was compelled by introspect to conduct an examination into what it must have meant to be young during the apartheid era and what it means to be black, young and South African today.

"What is this generation's identity and place in the cosmopolitan world? How does the third and first world exist within this one society, and how does this phenomena impact social interactions and youth mentality?"

Necktie Youth has received glowing reviews after screenings at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

In its review of the film, The Hollywood Reporter called it an "eye opener" that shows "a different side of Johannesburg than the ghettos depicted in films like Tsotsi or Four Corners."

Necktie Youth's screening at the Durban International Film Festival is funded by the Gauteng Film Commission.

  • For more information on the film, contact Sandiso Ngubane via or
    +27 (0)60 895 8914
  • Movie press kit - including Durban schedule, film logline and factfile, and Sibs Shongwe-La Mer interview

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission