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What Was Happening When

Rich Girl Stills

1980 – Rich Girl

+ 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.

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

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.

What Was Happening When

Revenge-Stills-1

1986 – Revenge

+ 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.

Interview with Bela Sobottke

Bela Sobottke

German artist Bela Sobottke recently did some fan art of Joe Bullet after seeing the film at the Berlin Film Festival. We interviewed him for our readers.

+ Where do you live?
I live in Berlin, Germany.

+ What work do you do?
I work as a freelance comic-strip artist and graphic designer.

+ What do you like to draw/what inspires you?
I draw various stuff to pay my bills… But what I really love to draw is weird and fun genre comics. My current release KEINER KILLT SO SCHÖN WIE ROCCO is a weird western with lots of misfit characters, monsters, mutants and Apache zombies. You can catch a glimpse at https://vimeo.com/channels/2werk.
A lot of my inspiration comes from the movies, especially Exploitation and Grindhouse: Horror, Spaghetti Western, Blaxploitation… Which leads us to JOE BULLET!

+ What made you fall in love with Joe Bullet?
I saw JOE BULLET at the Berlinale (along with UMBANGO). I was instantly hooked by the cool characters, the tough action, the charismatic lead actor Ken Gampu, the groovy music (If you release the Soundtrack I’m the first to buy it) and the Blaxploitation feeling paired with that specific african vibe. Plus there is the special background story about JOE BULLET, the inhuman Apartheid circumstances, the ban, the myth… and finally the rediscovery. When Benjamin Cowley mentioned the sequel BULLET ON THE RUN after the screening, I immediately had this movie poster on my mind…

+ What is a quote you live by?
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Hunter S. Thompson

Joe Bullet fan art

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.