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Response to controversial film: “Of Good Report”

Women’s Action for Development (WAD) takes the liberty of reacting to the highly controversial banned and recently unbanned South African film: “Of Good Report”, directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka and produced by Michael Auret and Luzuko Dilima, after having viewed it in the capital during its Premiere on Saturday, 25 January.

After having received protests from various sectors of the Namibian society, during which Namibians have voiced their concerns that this controversial film, in which a school teacher, “Parker Sithole” and a 16 year old school girl, “Nolitha” started a love relationship, is deemed to have a negative impact on the social fibre of the Namibian society, WAD wishes to point out the following main lessons from the film:
 After having viewed the film with an open mind and without prejudice, WAD could not find any reason for the screening of the film to have been banned in South Africa and therefore find it not surprising that the country thereafter lifted its ban on the screening of the film;
 No child pornography was detected in “Of Good Report”, which otherwise would have been a criminal offence. However, WAD recommends that the film should not be aired on national TV channels such as the NBC or One Africa where it is difficult to ensure that it does not get the attention of children under 18. It could rather be viewed at cinemas due to the degree of nudity which it portrays and sexual scenes, although not as visible as in pornography.
 Nothing in the film was found to be so uniquely unknown and controversial that it would corrupt the minds of adult viewers and to have justified its banning. On the contrary, the film contains scenes which are very well known to society which provides much food for thought and many lessons to be learned.
 “Of Good Report” demonstrates how shockingly easy it is for a teacher, who is a social misfit and psychopath in society, to obtain a teacher’s position at a poor rural school, purely on the grounds of his reputation of: “Of Good Report”. It was equally shocking to see how easily a teacher could abandon his ethics and the “Code of Conduct” of the teaching profession, to summarily enter into a relationship with a 16-year old school girl and who could further be so unethical in protecting another teacher who was openly abusing alcohol on the school grounds, in order to conceal his own evil deeds.
An important lesson to be learned from “Of Good Report” is that it portrays how a trusted teacher can shockingly get away after having committed horrendous crimes, such as having sexual relations with a minor; serious violent deeds and murder.
 Furthermore, “Of Good Report” demonstrates how our parental homes are failing in their duty to raise their girls in an ethical and respectable manner, especially considering that the girl in question was openly engaging in alcohol abuse in the presence of her teachers and was provocative towards the teacher in question, to start a sexual relationship with him;
Therefore WAD encourages parents, teachers, community leaders, civil society organizations etc, to view the film: “Of Good Report”, to consider the negative affects of prevailing unethical and unprofessional behaviour among teachers and learners which can eventually destroy the social fibre of our society. In fact, it is recommended that the Ministry of Education purchase copies of the film to enable teachers and parents to view it, to consider the devastating consequences of teachers starting love relationships with minors whom they are supposed to educate;
WAD appeals to the Ministry of Education to take serious measures to re-visit the training manuals of teachers to prepare them against the dangers and negative consequences of undesirable teacher-learner relationships and to henceforth conduct proper screening of its teachers to ascertain the psychological stability of teachers, to ensure that Psychopaths and social misfits are not employed as teachers. In this manner undesirable teacher-learner relationships at schools which can destroy the careers of young girls, can be prevented;
WAD further appeals to the Ministry of Education to consider the importance of the subject: “Life Skills”, in which learners should be trained and sensitized against , among others, the dangers of undesirable teacher-learner relationships and its negative consequences;
Moreover, WAD appeals to parents to seriously consider their role and responsibilities in the upbringing of their children, to enforce positive norms, values and discipline among their children, to prevent undesirable teacher-learner relationships to develop.
“Of Good Report” provides clear proof of the dangerous mine field into which teacher-learner relationships can develop with sad consequences. Schools which fail to maintain strict discipline can have an eye opener about where it can lead to. For society…. “Of Good Report” is evidence of devastating tragedies, such as unethical sexual relations with minors, serious violence and eventual death, which can be avoided if only the parental home would fulfill its role of laying a sound foundation of good upbringing, upon which the school can continue to build. Veronica De Klerk WAD Executive Director

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