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OF, BY AND FOR THE CHILDREN

Family Channel closes distance on race in an 'African Skies' episode

August 29, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rory (Simon James) knows something about being the "odd man out." The only white student at his African high school, he has kept his distance from others and found solace in his best friend Jambele (Rouxnet Brown) under the hot African Skies.

When their teacher gives the class an assignment during a heritage/cultural arts festival, Rory assumes that Jam will be his partner. But when Jam has a chance to be paired up with a girl he has a crush on, Rory is the third wheel.

Soon, Rory's teacher teams him up with Behema (Lindiwe Shiba), an unpopular girl. While they are both reluctant at first, they find a bond in their outsider status.

Tall and gangly, Rory learns that while Behema seems rather shy in public, she's actually quite lively and talented. Despite opposition from her traditional and conservative father, she teaches Rory a native dance that they perform together with much success.

"It's time for Rory to move from visitor to inhabitant," says consulting producer Phil Savath.

At one point, Rory says, "I'm just skating on the surface; it's time for me to live in the community instead of off of it."

"He's going to finally try and really integrate himself in the community, not just at home on the ranch," Savath says.

The "Inside Moves" episode of "African Skies" airs Sunday and repeats Saturday on the Family Channel. For ages 8 and up.

MORE FAMILY SHOWS

True friends and family loyalty are examined on "Join In!" (Monday on Learning Channel) this week. Like many who aspire to the profession, Zack is feeling low about his lagging acting career. When his famous actress-aunt, Katherine, visits, he pretends to be very successful. When Zack meets a little girl who lies to make friends, she actually helps him realize that Aunt Katherine will like him--big star or not. For ages 3 to 8.

In its new season, "Nickelodeon Guts" (weekdays) adds new events, including "Jump Ball," "Rebound," "Fumble," "Tornado Run," "Waverunner" and "Hang Ten." The new games make more than 30 original games created for "Guts." Each event features play-by-play commentary, referees and instant replays, with post-event interviews with the winners. Personal profiles of each player also are included. Another new addition is "Stretch," the show's sport mascot. For ages 6 to 13.

It's not all fluffs of soft pink anymore, as "Homeworks" (Wednesday on Discovery) looks at "Bedrooms for Girls of All Ages." Host Lynette showcases a bedroom that will work for any age, as well as a look at basement renovation, a visit to a shutter factory and a lesson in making a toy picture frame. For parents.

The 1989 TV movie "The Ryan White Story" (Thursday on Lifetime) chronicles the true-life story of 13-year-old White. He and his mother wage an unwaverving fight against the frightened and confused people who want to bar him from his school when they discover he has AIDS. The movie stars Judith Light ("Who's the Boss?"), Lukas Haas ("Witness") and George C. Scott. For ages 11 and up.

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