Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony

  • Film
  • Documentaries
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There's a chilling moment in this remarkable documentary when one of the architects of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, says: 'We like to think of apartheid as a policy of good neighbourliness.' It would take another 30 years for South Africa's racial mass policy to be torn apart. Most scholars agree that the true catalyst for change was the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre. Nevertheless, it wasn't until 1976, when the government started to insist that non-whites learn school subjects in Afrikaans, that the apartheid system really began to crumble. White rulers were forced to backtrack, Nelson Mandela was released, the rest is history.What isn't so widely known, perhaps, is just how profound an effect song was to have on those black South Africans who otherwise held out little hope for the future. Unknown poets tweaked traditional songs into a political stance the people could identify with. 'The song became the organiser,' as one young African exile puts it. The authorities, however, were often oblivious to the lyrical content of this music, which gradually became ever more warlike. Using exclusive interviews with various expats and some rare, illuminating archive footage, this edifying documentary unfolds like a potted history of South Africa. It's tragic, uplifting, even funny; and the music stirs the soul.

Release details

Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Lee Hirsch
Cast: African Devoted Artists
The ANC National Choir
Gerhard Botes
Audrey Brown
Jeremy Cronin
The Community of Diepkloof Soweto
Peter 'Commissar' Dimba
Abdullah Ibrahim
Ronnie Kasrils
Peter Khumalo
Sibongile Khumalo
Big Voice Jack Lerole
Sibusiso Lerole
Andile Magengefele
Itumeleng Mahabane
Vusi Mahlasela
Mirian Makeba
Peter Makurube
Hugh Masekela
Lydia Mashaba
Sophie Mgcina
The Mini Family
Themba Mkhize
Paul 'Rude Boy' Mnisi
Thandi Modise
Duma Ka Ndlovu
Golden Neswiswi
Sifiso Ntuli
Sibusiso Nxumalo
Dolly Rathebe
General Adrianne de la Rosa
Gail Smith
Johan Steinberg
Vincent Vena
Nkosana Xulu
Lindiwe Zulu
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