South African Blaxploitation Films

What is Blaxploitation? Blaxploitation was a term coined in the early 1970s to refer to a sub-genre of black cinema, which incorporated the culture of Black people in America and worldwide. Although initially popular, it quickly disintegrated as a film genre criticized for stereotypical characterization and glorification of violence.

In retrospect, Blaxploitation and the legacy it left behind have been acknowledged as a positive contribution to African and African-American film history. Blaxploitation films such as Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss song [1971], Coffy [1973], and Dolemite [1975] proved that black actors possessed a strong box-office appeal, and despite the fact that many of the films were written, directed and produced by white people, black audiences finally saw the recognition that African and African-American actors, directors and writers deserved, and fought for, since the early days of silent film. The following South African films, restored by Retro Afrika Bioscope, depict the essence of Blaxploitation.

Umbango (The Feud) [1986]

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 gunfight, a showdown in the small western town where blood will have to be split if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

Bullet On The Run [1982]

Bullet is back, and this time he will have to put his reputation on the line as he goes deep undercover in prison to unfold the mystery of a police corruption ring, being run by one of the most wanted mob bosses in the country, a man known only as Snake.

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Bullet On The Run [1982]

When looking at Blaxploitation films, we can see a historical-cultural significance that comes from a time and place which transcends into the universal truths of freedom, expression, and community. Despite some of the controversy that these films created, it opened the doors to talented African-Americans, ultimately proving to its audience that they could thrive in film. Thus, their achievements speak for themselves.

What Was Happening When

Umbango

The RetroAfrika “What Was Happening When” series is now in its 7th week! Here’s this week’s instalment – what was happening in South Africa when “Umbango” was produced.

1986 – Umbango

+ 7 Jan  A grenade is thrown at a Railways policeman in Soweto.

+ 8 Jan  A Pretoria sub-station is damaged by an explosion.

+ 9 Jan  A limpet mine explodes at 21h15 and damages a substation in Jacobs, Durban. Later a second limpet explodes, killing a policeman and injuring other policemen and two electrical workers who arrive at the scene.

+ 4 Feb Four South African Army soldiers are injured when a cadre throws a grenade into their military vehicle at Gugulethu.

+ 9 Feb A limpet mine destroys two police vehicles at Umlazi police station near Durban when parked after returning from riot patrol.

+ 21 March Four mines explode at an Escom sub-station in Durban.

+ 8 April The home of the former Labour Party secretary in Natal, Kevin Leaf, is attacked.

+ 12 June The Government declares a nationwide state of emergency.

+ 1 July An explosion outside the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg injures eight civilians.

+ 15 August Trevor Manuel is detained for the second time, this time only to be released in 1988.

+ 4 November A landmine kills a soldier on horseback in the eastern Transvaal.

+ 19 Dec A grenade attack is executed on the home of a Soweto councillor and two policemen are injured.

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

Details for Retro Afrika Fest in JHB

jobusy-main-street-life
The Mini Retro Afrika Film Festival in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema is happening next week in Johannesburg 24th – 26th October. 4 Films will be showcased as part of a mini festival – “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Trompie” and “Umbango”

Where

286 Fox Street, Johannesburg

When

24th – 26th October

Directions

From the M1 South, go around the city on to the M2 EastTake the Joe Slovo off ramp.

Take Market Street off ramp to your rightKeep right, and go over one set of lights.
At the next set of lights go right into Betty Street.
Take Next right into Fox.
Main Street Life will appear on your left.
The Bioscope is on the ground floor.
The Bioscope is located in the Maboneng Precinct.
There is guarded street parking located directly outside the cinema.
There is also a precinct wide security solution and Jeppe Police Station just around the corner, so you are more than safe!

Programme

Joe Bullet

When a mysterious gangster starts sabotaging soccer team The Eagles’ chance at winning the upcoming championship final, there is only one man who can save the day…Joe Bullet.

FRI 24 OCT 7:30PM BUY TICKETS

SUN 26 OCT 7PM BUY TICKETS 

Retro Afrika Bioscope The Bioscope Joe Bullet

Fishy Stones

After a well-executed jewellery store heist, two amateur thugs go on the run.
But the police are not too far behind, and after a chase through the countryside, the thugs are apprehended – but only after they stash their loot in a clump of nearby bushes.

When two best friends head off into the wilderness on a camping expedition together, luck seems to be on their side when they discover the hidden stash of diamonds.
But life is never that easy, and the two thugs, after a daring escape from prison, pick up the trail of the friends, hunting them down in order to reclaim their loot.
In the end, the boys’ parents come to their rescue, and the two dim-witted criminals are sent back to jail once more – hopefully for good this time!

SAT 25 OCT 6PM. BUY TICKETS

Fishy Test The Bioscope

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 spilt if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

SAT 25 OCT 8PM. BUY TICKETS

Umbango The Bioscope

Trompie

The original feature film produced in 1975, based on the books by Topsy Smith that ultimately led to the renowned and well-loved television show, introduces Trompie as a freckle-faced eleven year old boy, and the Big Chief of the Boksom Gang.

Together with his mates Rooie, Blikkies and little Dawie, the young boys embark on a series of mischievous adventures that often land them in hot soup with the townsfolk of their hometown of Kwaggaberg.
Their cajoling with the Reverend’s pet baboon gets completely out of hand and Trompie’s innocent attempts at fixing his sister, Anna, up with a boyfriend goes terribly wrong.

Not only does Trompie and his gang of friends almost ruin the annual school concert, but their shenanigans leads to a bet that Trompie will be able to crash the show and appear on stage that evening. Throughout all these misadventures, Trompie befriends a playful mongrel who belongs to an old man about to leave the town. As the story comes to a close, Trompie will have to watch on as the mangy dog has to choose between staying with the impish young boy or leaving with it’s old master.

SUN 26 OCT 5PM.  BUY TICKETS

Trompie The Bioscope

The Mini RetroAfrika Film Festival JHB 24th Oct

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

Coming up we have The Mini RetroAfrika Film Festival in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg 24th – 26th October. 4 Films will be showcased as part of a mini festival – “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Trompie” and “Umbango”. Here’s a few stills from them. More details on this event to follow. Enjoy!

"Fishy Stones" Screen Grab

“Fishy Stones” Screen Grab

"Fishy Stones" Screen Grab

“Fishy Stones” Screen Grab

"Umbango" Screen Grab

“Umbango” Screen Grab

"Umbango" Screen Grab

“Umbango” Screen Grab

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

"Joe Bullet" Screen Grab

“Joe Bullet” Screen Grab

"Joe Bullet" Screen Grab

“Joe Bullet” Screen Grab