Retro Afrika Bioscope celebrating Heritage Day

This Saturday South Africa will be celebrating Heritage Day. And with Retro Afrika Bioscope playing such a significant role in restoring and preserving this beautiful country’s diverse film heritage it seems only fit to dedicate a blog to this awesome day!!! It’s also very important to remember where it all started and what significance it has to the people of South Africa and our rainbow nation.

The History

In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, president Nelson Mandela stated:

“When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”

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And thus Heritage Day was born, to be celebrated every year on the 24th September. With such a diverse culture and rather than focusing on the cultural divisions, a recent initiative by the Braai4Heritage called upon all South Africans to celebrate their common roots by having a Braai (BBQ) on Heritage Day.

Retro Afrika Bioscope has been dedicated to preserving and restoring lost and forgotten films produced in the 1980’s. These films might never have been seen by modern audiences if it wasn’t for this project. We started the long process of sourcing these films and restoring them to their former glory and today they are accessible on various platforms such as DVD and Video on Demand. In South Africa we have partnered with DSTV’s Mzansi Bioskop, channel (164) in bringing these once forgotten African Classics into your living room and this Sundays movie will be ‘Isiqalekiso’ [1980]’.

Isiqalekiso [1980’s]

After hearing a story of missing golden treasure, a group of young boys set out on an adventure to look for it. After some time, they eventually find a box believed to be the missing gold. But very soon, the group of friends is overcome with gold-fever and it’s not long before they start turning on one another. When a local thug discovers that the boys have indeed found the hidden treasure, he manages to steal it away from them, and the friends are forces to reconcile and come together in order to retrieve their find and get their own back on the thief.

So how are you going to spend your Heritage Day? If you’re living outside of South Africa. why not go onto FilmDoo, Hoopla Digital or Bigstar to browse through our catalog of movies and stream these Lost African Classics. You never know, you might find your next favorite between the rich treasures that is South Africa’s film pride and joy.

 

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International Women’s Month: Quotable quotes by Famous Women in Film

In honor of women in film we have compiled a list of famous quotes by these elegant, beautiful and talented women. So sit back, relax and enjoy the trip down memory lane!!!!

Practical Magic [1998]

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Nicole Kidman as ‘Gillian Owens’ in Practical Magic

Midnight in Paris [2011]

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Marion Cotillard as ‘Adriana’ in Midnight in Paris

The Color Purple [1985]

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Whoopi Goldberg as ‘Celia’ in The Color Purple

Pretty Woman [1990]

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Julia Roberts as ‘Vivian’ in Pretty Woman

My Big Fat Greek Wedding [2002]

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Nia Vardalos as ‘Toula Portokalos’ and Lainie Kazan as ‘Maria Portokalos’ in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The Help [2011]

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Viola Davis as ‘Aibileen Clarke’ in The Help

Before Sunset [2004]

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Julie Delpi as ‘Celine’ in Before Sunset

Sex and the City [1998]

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Kim Cattrall as ‘Samantha Jones’ in Sex and the City

And finally this quote might not be from a particular movie but it sure is worth adding and very true!!! Marilyn was the pure embodiment of female strength, beauty and empowerment. And even though she was not always well behaved in her short but fulfilling life, she definitely made history!!! Happy Women’s Month to all the wonderful women in the world that are making a difference.

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International Women’s Day: Empowering Women in Film

In honor of Women’s month, it is important to reflect on the importance of women’s empowerment and to acknowledge some of the many struggles that women were faced with. There are a wide variety of films which depict this theme, and we encourage everyone to watch, learn and enjoy!

“Thelma and Louise” [1991] – one of the world’s “must see” women-empowerment films, is an ultimate classic about two women who decide to break out of their societal roles as women by hitting the road and embarking on a new journey. Their adventure, however, turns into a flight when Louise kills a man who threatens to rape Thelma. They decide to go to Mexico, but soon they are hunted by American police.

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Thelma and Louise [1991]

The film has many themes: Laughter, sadness, fear, and endurance. But overall, it gives viewers a feeling of happiness and comfort. It reflects on the importance of a strong bond between two women, and their efforts to help and love one another at their darkest of times. Women’s month reminds us to love, value, and respect all women, no matter their race, ethnicity or social class.

“Yesterday” [2004] is a South African film which captures a Zulu woman’s journey as she discovers that she is HIV positive. She must deal with consequences of her illness, but her singular motivation is to see that Beauty, her five year old daughter, enrolls in school the next fall. This is a significant and inspiring film, which portrays a woman in distress as she struggles to balance her relationship with her daughter and husband, and of course her newly diagnosed illness. Despite this, she chooses to remain positive and strong for her family. Even in the worst situation, her prime goal is to live long enough to see her daughter go to school.

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Yesterday [2004]

The film portrays a woman’s strength, courage, and bravery, and is a role model to all mothers and wives.

International Women’s Month reminds us to lead by example as strong women and the importance of women empowerment.

 

Bringing Lost African Gems Straight to your Living Room on Mzansi Bioskop

Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s Retro Afrika Bioscope and Mzansi Bioskop have teamed up to bring you a starlit line up of lost and forgotten South African films. Over the next couple of months, you can tune in every Sunday at 8pm to DSTV Channel 164, Mzansi Bioskop to feast your eyes on some of the most authentically South African films that was produced in the 70’s and 80’s. These films showcase all-African casts and in a number of local languages with English subtitles.

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“Umbango” will have it’s first ever TV premiere this coming Sunday. The film was produced and directed by Tonie van der Merwe, starring Popo Gumede, Hector Mathanda and Kay Magubane and is arguably one of the first all African cast isiZulu Westerns. The film was digitally restored by Gravel Road Entertainment Group and was, together with the film Joe Bullet, official selection in the Forum section at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015. Both films had sell out audiences at the festival. “As the first producer and director of an African language film, it gives me great pride to finally get some recognition for our contribution to the South African film industry. I am proud of what we have achieved and it’s a great honour and privilege to experience this moment. It’s a shame that most of these actors such as Ken Gampu, Joe Lopez and Hector Mathanda cannot be here today to see these films on TV. Thank you again to all the actors and my colleges. I salute you!!” says Tonie van der Merwe.

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About “Umbango”
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 split if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

Retro Afrika Bioscope is Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s specialty release label for classic retro African content. In 2013, Gravel Road launched an initiative to locate, digitally restore and re-release films produced for the oppressed majority (African) audiences in the 70’s and 80’s under the old South African film subsidy schemes. All films being released by Retro Afrika Bioscope undergo a highly specialized digital restoration process.

The line-up of films for the month of July includes, Abathumbi (Starring: Innocent Gumede and Khulekani Magubane), Zero for Zep (Starring: So Mhlanga and Khulekani Magubane), Umgulukudu (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya) and Thunder Valley (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya).

More information on these films are available on:
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/retroafrika/
YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMR66tlg7C2Yp-10tHNH1SA

What Was Happening When

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1980 – Gone Crazy 

+ 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.

For more info on how to buy a copy of one of our DVDs, contact us here.

What Was Happening When

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1987 – Ezintandaneni 

+ 1 Jan  South African Defence Force servicemen are attacked in Alexandra, Johannesburg and at least one is injured

+ 9 Jan Police raid English-language newspapers, seizing documents related to an advertisement calling for the legalising of the African National Congress

+ 2 Feb The single quarters of the Bokomo Police Station is attacked twice with grenades and one policeman is injured

+ 18 Feb A number of people are killed in a grenade attack on Tladi Secondary School

+ 12 March  Sweden announces a total boycott on trade with South Africa, effective from October

+ 20 July  A car bomb explodes outside a block of flats in District Six, Cape Town, with no injuries

+ 30 July A car bomb explodes outside the Witwatersrand Command and kills one soldier and injures 68 people

+ 3 August 23 conscripts publicly announce in Cape Town that they refuse to serve in the SADF

+ 23 August A shop in Emdeni, frequented by soldiers, is attacked with grenades

+ 28 November South African Airways Flight 295 crashes into the Indian Ocean near Mauritius due to a fire in the cargo hold, killing 159 passengers and crew

+ 10 December During a police raid on a shack in the Port Elizabeth area, they meet heavy resistance from the residents. The police drive a Casspir over the shack, killing four