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What Was Happening When

Hostage Waterfront Film Studios

1980 – Hostage 

+ Jan 14 The local community at Soekmekaar resists forced removal and damages the police station.

+ Jan 25 Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed.

+ March 12 In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training.

+ March 26 A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23.

+ April 4 Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s.

+ April 21 More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes.

+ Oct 14 The Soweto community calls for a stayaway to protest against rent increases.

+ Oct 15 A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene.

+ Nov 21 A terrorist is killed in Chiawelo and a child is injured by police in the process.

A Short (Cool) History of South African Cinema

African Cinema

+ During the 1910s and 1920s, many South African films were made in or around Durban. These films often made use of the dramatic scenery available in rural KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the Drakensberg region.

+ KwaZulu-Natal was also served as the appropriate location for historical films such as De Voortrekkers (1916) and The Symbol of Sacrifice (1918)

African Cinema

Sarie Marais, the first Afrikaans-language sound film, was released in 1931. Subsequent sound releases such as Die Wildsboudjie(1948), a 1949 Sarie Marais remake, and Daar doer in die bosveld (1950) continued to cater primarily to white, Afrikaans-speaking audiences.

+ The 1950s saw an increased use of South African locations and talent by international filmmakers. British co-productions like Coast of Skeletons (1956) and American co-productions like The Cape Town Affair (1957) reflected the a growing trend of shooting in real locations, rather than using backlots.

African Cinema


Uthemba South African Cinema
Director Rudi Mayer Cast Lucas Tsiane
Producer Rudi Mayer Muntu Ndebele
Writer Rudi Mayer Aaron Mbuli
DOP Rudi Mayer Danney Maphalala
Editor N/A Anton Sibanda
Sound Frank Muller Jerry Ndabukelwayo
Y.O.P 1980’s Patrick Ntuli
Running Time 93 min Josef Mualefe
Language isiZulu Mandy Kunene
Genre Crime / Drama Patricia Mothibedi

Themba is released from serving two years in prison for his best friend, Vusi. Upon his release, he discovers that Vusi, the car thief, has been sleeping with his girlfriend, Thandi. Themba decides to change his fate and become a snitch – helping the police put an end to Vusi’s on-going crime spree. Vusi has Thandi executed, blaming her for his current misfortunes. Themba moves the final chess piece into place, resulting in Vusi’s ultimate demise and capture.

Uthemba South African Cinema

Uthemba South African Cinema


Abathumbi South African Cinema

Director Tonie van der Merwe Cast Innocent “Popo” Gumede
Producer Oubaas Olivier Jabulani Luthuli
Writer Pat Johnstone Victor Nhleko
DOP Tonie van der Merwe Khelekani Magubane
Sound Foxy Hand Sthembiso Mthembu
Y.O.P 1980’s Bongo Nyawo
Running Time 61 min Thokozani Jele
Language isiZulu Bheki Malinnga
Genre Crime/ Drama

A mysterious gangster known only as “Boss” infiltrates the home of a local pastor with a devious scheme to abduct the pastor’s nephew. In order to get a heavy ransom from the boy’s wealthy father, he is let down by the ineptitude and incompetence of his two underlings.

The young nephew, together with his two cousins, work cleverly together and with the help a good Samaritan neighbour manage to defeat the crooks.

Abathumbi South African Cinema

Abathumbi South African Cinema

Zero for Zep

South African Cinema

Director Steve Hand / Laurens Barnard Cast So Mhlanga
Producer Tugela Films Khulekani Magubane
Writer Carl Bleakley Gugu Mhlanga
DOP Laurens Barnard Tim Mtshali
Editor N/A Jabulani Lthuli
Sound Foxy Hand Richard Manqele
Y.O.P 1980’s Innocent “Popo” Gumede
Running Time 66 min Wilson Phala
Language isiZulu Thembi Sambo
Genre Crime / Drama Winnie Mkhize

When Zep dumps his pregnant teenage girlfriend, and later discovers she committed suicide as a result of this, he acts out. Angry and confused, he undertakes a childish crime spree in order to deal with what has happened.

Things quickly spiral out of control and soon the police are hot on his tail.

In a daring final escape, the young man comes to see the error of his ways and decides to face the consequences of his actions like a man.

Zero for Zep South African Cinema

Zero for Zep South African Cinema

Zero for Zep South African Cinema

How To Watch Our Restored Films

framegrab from "Mandla"

framegrab from “Mandla”

+ We’re on kykNET’s “Flits” Channel 144 DSTV tonight! Tune in at 9:30pm as CEO Ben speaks about #RetroAfrika

+ We’re screening “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Umbango” and “Trompie” in Johannesburg  in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema between 24th-26th October. More here (including where you can buy tickets)

+ We have a YouTube Channel with trailers for our films

+ “Joe Bullet” will be showcased at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on 8th & 13th
November as part of the “To Save and Project” Film Preservation Festival

+ Soon “Trompie” will be available in Musica (South Africa) nationwide

+ “Joe Bullet” will be screened at the Carthage International Film Festival in Tunisia in December

framegrab from "Trompie" screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October

framegrab from “Trompie” screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October

framegrab from "Fishy Stones" screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October

framegrab from “Fishy Stones” screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October

framegrab from "Umbango" screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October

framegrab from “Umbango” screening in Johannesburg 24-26 October