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.