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What Was Happening When

Hostage RetroAfrika

1980 – Hostage

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists 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

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

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

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

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

+ 29 April In Johannesburg hundreds of coloured school children are arrested in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act during a student-police confrontation

+ 1 June Bombs explode at Sasol One and Two and Natref Eight at Sasolburg and Secunda, with no injuries and RM58 damage. The attack was organised by Solomon Mahlangu of the Umkhonto weSizwe Special Operations

+ 29 Oct Umkhonto we Sizwe insurgents throw two grenades into the government buildings of the West Rand Administration Board and injure a security guard and his friend.

Hostage-16

Hostage RetroAfrika

Hostage RetroAfrika

Hostage RetroAfrika

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

Facts About Film

african cinema open air theatre

Following us but know nothing about film? Here are a few facts:

+ Feature Films are the long format, fictional (non-factual) films you see in cinemas. They are called long format because they are longer than most other forms of film making – anything between 80 minutes and four hours, with 90 minutes being the average length.

+ They are generally the most expensive kind of film to make, the most demanding, and the most prestigious. Directors of features like Steven Spielberg (USA) or Franco Zeferelli (Italy) are much more famous than people who direct commercials or documentaries for television. It takes hundreds of people to make a feature, and usually millions of Rand – although low budget features are possible, like South African Akin Omotso’s G-d is African (released in 2003).

+ A feature film usually has a dramatic story and identifiable characters.

+ Different countries have developed different kinds of feature films: USA – the Hollywood blockbuster, India – the Bollywood musical melodrama, New Zealand – intense art-house films, Europe – the Dogme 95 movement. African film has also developed its own story-telling techniques, some of which derive from the continent’s rich tradition of oral history and indigenous modes of communication.

+ Since the end of the colonial era, films have been produced which respond creatively to the ever shifting conditions and dilemmas the continent faces. This despite the fact that most African countries are poor (which means less money available to finance films) and they lack the necessary infrastructure (transport, film equipment and facilities).

+ Feature films tell dramatic stories in such a powerful way that they often shape how we see each other.

Why We’re Special

Tonie Van Der Merwe

We take old films from South African history + restore them. Cool huh? We also locate the directors + give them awards 🙂

Unknown among his fellow white South Africans, Tonie van der Merwe was the most popular filmmaker among black audiences in the 1970s and ’80s. He churned out about 400 movies under an apartheid subsidy system established to produce movies exclusively for blacks — with the right political and moral content. In fact, he helped create the system.

After his speech at the Durban International Film Festival, gripping a statuette in one hand and a double brandy and Coke in the other, he said: “Without being racist, I thought a white guy won’t easily win a prize, but I was wrong. I thought anything before the 1990s is not easily recognized by the present government. We didn’t exist. We didn’t do anything.”

Mr. van der Merwe created some 400 films in the 1970s and ’80s, including “Joe Bullet,” the country’s first film with an all-black cast. Credit Joao SilvaThe New York Times

Mr. van der Merwe created some 400 films in the 1970s and ’80s, including “Joe Bullet,” the country’s first film with an all-black cast. Credit Joao Silva/The New York Times

Residents of Kwamashu watching “Joe Bullet” this month. The film, released in 1972, was banned after only two showings. Credit Joao Silva/The New York Times

Residents of Kwamashu watching “Joe Bullet”. The film, released in 1972, was banned after only two showings. Credit Joao Silva/The New York Times

Mandla

Mandla South African Cinema

KEY CREW & CAST
Director Tonie Van Der Merwe Cast Hector Mathanda
Producer Mary-Ann Spangenberg Innocent “Popo” Gumede
Writer Ilza Oosthuizen Kay Magubane
DOP Tony Cunningham Dumi Shongwe
Editor N/A Cleopatra Nyide
Sound Philip Kershaw Mandla Ngcoya
Y.O.P 1980’s Phumlani Phewa
Running Time 69 min
Language isiZulu
Genre Comedy
SYNOPSIS

When two dim-witted thieves escape from prison and ransack Mandla’s house, the young boy’s parents believe he and his friend are to blame. Determined to prove their innocence, Mandla and his pal set off in search of the true culprits.

After a few close calls and a daring escape, Mandla and his friend manage to capture the escaped convicts.

Mandla South African Cinema

Mandla South African Cinema

Impango I

Impango South African Cinema
KEY CREW & CAST
Director Tonie Van Der Merwe Cast Khulekani Magubane
Producer Hettie Van Der Merwe Gugu Mhlanga
Writer Alida Hand Tim Mtshali
DOP Tonie Van Der Merwe Hector Mathanda
Editor Steve Hand Victor Nondangala
Sound Steve Hand Abel Msani
Y.O.P 1980’s Sally Mabaso
Running Time 81 min Sallah Madupe
Language isiZulu Mr Mhlongo
Genre Crime
SYNOPSIS

When a wealthy businessman’s wife is abducted by three thugs looking for a R20,000 ransom fee, the man will have to play a very clever game if he hopes to ever see his wife again. In the end, his wife proves to be a resourceful and resilient woman. She saves her husband’s life in return, when it seems he may just be killed for his bravery.

The leader of the thugs is sent to prison. But with only one of his men dead, it’s anyone’s guess where his other henchman have disappeared to….

Impango South African Cinema

Impango South African Cinema

Abathumbi

Abathumbi South African Cinema

KEY CREW & CAST
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
SYNOPSIS

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

Umbango

UMBANGO SOUTH AFRICAN FILM

KEY CREW & CAST
Director Tonie Van Der Merwe Cast Innocent “Popo” Gumede
Producer Steve Hand Kay Magubane
Writer Pat Johnston Hector Mathanda
DOP Tonie Van Der Merwe Dumisani Shongwe
Editor N/A Vincent Velekazi
Sound Edwin Knopf Vusi Gudazi
Y.O.P approx. 1986 Fikile Majozi
Running Time 70 min Mac Mkhwanazi
Language isiZulu Emmanuel Shangase
Genre Western
SYNOPSIS

When Kay Kay, a powerful, ruthless businessman sets out on a mission of revenge against two men accused of killing his brother, he strong-arms the local sheriff into forming a posse of thugs to aid in his vendetta.

But when Jet and Owen, the two easy going friends, learn of the gang out for their blood, they prepare to stand their ground and fight back.

It all comes to a head in a final gun-fight, a showdown in the small western town where blood will have to be spilt if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

Umbango South African Cinema

Umbango South African Cinema

Umbango South African Cinema

Umbango South African Cinema