How I spend one of my many weekend nights is not out on the town but reading a good book, creating: may it be art or a DIY project or deciding what movie I will watch on Netflix. Well last night Netflix won and it was my boyfriend’s turn to select a movie so as we scoured over the vast selection of films, eventually coming across and settling on “Skin”, a touching biographical story of a woman named Sandra Laing, who was born in apartheid South Africa. Now what makes her story even more interesting is Sandra was born to two white parents (who were members of the National Party and supporters of the apartheid system) and grandparents but was born with darker colored skin and tightly coiled hair which gave her the appearance that many South Africans attributed to being black. This general consensus eventually led to Sandra’s reclassification to “coloured” (coloured means as defined by wiki “ethnic group of mixed race people who often possess some sub-Saharan African ancestry but not enough to be considered Black, either by themselves or by others”). The story then goes more in depth of Sandra’s expulsion from an all-white boarding school due to the apartheid system, her tumultuous relationship with her parents which then led to estrangement, due to her marriage with a black South African man, and her experiences growing up within an apartheid system.
In this film the talented and beautiful Oscar Nominee of Hotel Rwanda, Sophie Okonedo portrays Sandra Laing. Young actress, Ella Ramangwane does a phenomenal job portraying Sandra Laing as a little girl in which the movie really begins with Ella’s portrayal. “Skin” will definitely tug many of your heart strings, a very relatable issue to many, who have had a sense of not belonging or feelings of self-difference and alienated because of them.
*If you are a subscriber to Netflix you can watch “Skin” instantly on your computer here