'Reclaiming Now' is a documentary film about waste pickers in South Africa and their struggle to enjoy the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development as promised in the South African Constitution.
The documentary is the brainchild of Dr Allison Lindner, an interdisciplinary legal scholar at UCL Faculty of Laws who wished to translate her PhD thesis findings into a widely accessible medium and was directed by Premilla Murcott and Tricia Hlongwa. Dr Lindner's thesis focused on how international legal ideas such as sustainable development shape the lives of the most vulnerable among us, in this case, waste pickers in South Africa. It found that the lived reality of sustainable development does not accord with its aspiration. Waste pickers work hard to collect and sell recyclable materials for a living, while saving South African municipalities millions of rand per year in landfill space. Yet, they continue to live in poverty with little opportunity to move into any formal sector.
The film consists of stunning visuals of waste management activity in Johannesburg, and interviews of waste management stakeholders including waste pickers. The film will appeal to policymakers, waste pickers and their allies, activists, academics and others interested in the environment, the informal economy, waste and sustainable development.