• Film
  • Drama
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A (Molotov) cocktail mixing scenes of appalling violence with song and dance, Mbongeni Ngema's 1987 Soweto-based musical makes an uneasy transition to the screen. After some awkward opening sequences, the film's agenda becomes more readily apparent. Reprising her lead role as an embattled, star-struck schoolgirl, Khumalo plays Sarafina, who dreams of staging a school musical about Nelson Mandela, while at the same time teaming up with young activists who seek mass action against apartheid. Their energies are guided by teacher Mary (Goldberg), who flouts the authorised syllabus in order to instil knowledge of people power. A low-key Goldberg serves as catalyst and the children's conscience, while the emotions are left to Khumalo in a striking, moving depiction of defiance. Even her charismatic character, however, fails to give a proper consistency to the narrative, and the structure goes badly adrift.

Release details

Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Darrell James Roodt
Screenwriter: William Nicholson, Mbongeni Ngema
Cast: Leleti Khumalo
Whoopi Goldberg
Miriam Makeba
John Kani
Dumisani Diamini
Mbongeni Ngama

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening
Akpore Otega

i liked this film so much that i cried.i love the school assembly section where they sang ''hallowed be thy name'' then the song ''freedom is coming tomorrow''. Above ball , i love this film.