On the night of the matric dance (prom night) communities on the outskirts of Cape Town buzz with activity. Red carpets are rolled out and living rooms are transformed with layers of organza fabric. Tables are heavily laid with food for family (including everyone from your auntie to your auntie’s auntie) and friends to share. The street outside is filled with family, friends, and community members. Excited kids run down the street as the sound of a sports car fills the air as it approaches the crowded house.
A young woman, wearing a ball gown steps onto the red carpet, and the community cheer with pride. Her date, who is anxiously waiting with a bunch of flowers, is wearing a beautifully tailored tuxedo that is perfectly color-coded to match her dress and complimented with the latest pair of sneakers as the perfect cool accessory.
For one night these students get to look like movie stars and are treated like royalty by their family. It’s only once you take a step back from the glamorous scene that you begin to get a glimpse of the many challenges these students have had to overcome in order to finish high school.