The revolution will NOT be televised… it will probably be hidden between the pages of a book or might appear on the big screen years after. So, Live Magazine SA picks the best (or most revolutionary) books and films that capture and celebrate the history and heritage of our 20 years of democracy.
The Bang Bang Club (2010) 16LV Rating: 4/5 Starring: Ryan Phillippe ,Taylor Kitsch , Frank Rautenbach , Neel van Jaarsveld Director: Steven Silver Duration: 129 min
A compelling biopic about rogue South African photojournalists Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, the film reflects on the black on black murder and terror that tore a nation apart when South Africa transitioned from apartheid between 1990 and 1994. Significantly, it also documents the psychological and emotional trauma that was suffered by the photographers.
The Bang Bang Club, as the collective was fondly known, became a radical and well-respected group of photographers. The film documents how the photographers played a key role in the telling of the most horrific ANC vs. IFP battles that marred an otherwise proud part of our history – when South Africa was on the verge of attaining its liberation. It also shows how progressive media played a significant role in informing the world about our plight and beautifully showcases the political challenges of a South Africa then in turmoil. This is a definite must-see.
Cry Freedom (1987)13 LVP Rating:5/5 Starring : Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Penelope Wilton Director : Richard Attenborough Duration : 154 min
Based on books by journalist Donald Woods, this film explores the conditions that caused the banning of the Black Consciousness Movement. Importantly, it also details significant time in Steve Biko’s life and the shifts he enforced on politics and South Africa as a whole. The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), was a liberal movement of black intellectuals that urged Africans to decolonize and emancipate their minds by regard themselves as superior beings through acts of self- actualisation, self-assurance and self-worth.
Sarafina (1992) 13 LVP Rating : 5/5 Starring : Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, John Kani Director: Darrell James Roodt Duration: 97 min
In 1976, the South African Government declared a state of emergency. Over 750 school children were killed, over 10 000 were arrested and many more were tortured and assaulted. Sarafina tells the brave story of the fallen youth. Through the story of its young title heroine, Sarafina, the film explores her and her peers aspirations of being free and getting more out of life beyond Soweto as well as the terror she and her peers face while in school during the apartheid regime.
The film is worth watching as it reflects on the revolution sparked by the young people of the time, those proud and courageous enough to not want to endure oppression through the Afrikaans medium of instruction at school. Embarking on their personal rebellion, we see a revival of strength in them that pits them against the turmoil and devastations that the apartheid regime had the might to inflict.
Ways Of Staying Rating: ⅘ Author: Kevin Bloom
Ways of Staying finds Bloom chronicling his journey of self-discovery as a white South African in post- apartheid South Africa. The book finds him stuck between his love for South Africa against his deep resentment of the country’s rampant crime. Following the death and hijacking of his cousin, Bloom is left with two choices: pack his bags and leave South Africa or stay and find a way to cope with his loss. He brings the book to life by narrating the account of former Wits lecturer Alan Paterson – who emigrated to the UK after his daughter’s rape – and his former editor Branko Brkic, who immigrated to South Africa from Yugoslavia to found the successful online newspaper Daily Maverick. Heartbreaking, gripping and poignant; the book is an insightful analysis of white identity in post-apartheid South Africa.
Set in late 1960s Nigeria, Half of a Yellow Sun tells the intertwining stories of Ugwu, a young village boy who works for radical university professor, Odengibo, and his refined lover Olanna. As civil war erupts between Biafra and Nigeria, these three lives are thrown together in a whirlwind of pain, disappointment, promise and hope. They’re forced to make sacrifices and choices in order to achieve the dream of an independent Biafra. Adichie’s writing about the political, ethnic and class dynamics of Nigeria is both powerful and beautiful.
The Island Rating: ⅘ Author: Aldous Huxley
At the end of a career of dystopian fiction, renowned author Aldous Huxley penned this utopian novel just a year before his death. Seemingly inspired by a spiritual awakening Huxley experienced after ingesting the hallucinogen mescaline (documented in his famed 1954 essay “The Doors of Perception”), the fictional island community of Pala lives in a rapture set apart from the mechanisation that antagonises Huxley’s earlier work. Exploring the possibility of a truly free nation, the novel begins to loosen the cords of oppression that modern society knots around the mind. Between topless women and psychedelic trips, the real question that Huxley forces is how our traumatised psychologies impact our societies, and what our leaders could be doing to intervene.
The #2014Elections have set an exciting and vibrant context for the future of South Africa politics to unfold upon. What happens now that you’ve voted? How do we gauge whether we’re “moving the country forward”, whether we’re “bringing change” or “economic freedom in our lifetime”? Stick with #LiveVIPZA and we’ll give you analysis, debates, comments, polls and all YOU need to understand, enjoy and interact with SA politics.