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South African Films

The Battle for Johannesburg

DIR: Rehad Desai / SA / 2010 / 71min

In the run up to the World Cup, the long-running struggle for control of central Jozi intensified. But, as this film demonstrates, ambitious urban renewal projects aimed at transforming the mean streets into a “World Class city” haven’t made much headway against endemic crime, and a burgeoning population of poor migrants occupying crumbling tenements. Desai turns investigative reporter as he exposes the brutality of evictions, police raids and self-appointed landlords, the appalling living conditions of the residents and the lofty ambitions of property developers hoping to transform derelict buildings into islands of security and comfort among the deprivation and decay. What he discovers is that the battle for Jozi is less about development than an attack on the poorest of society.

Courtesy of the Director

CAPE TOWN V&A: TUE 17 / 8.30pm + Q&A
  LABIA: THU 26 / 6.30pm
JOBURG   FRI 20 / 8.30pm + Q&A


Forgotten Gold

DIR: Makela Pululu / SA / 2010 / 70min

One of Africa’s greatest soccer stars, a man with an unbroken record of scoring the most goals in the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations, nine of them, works as a car guard in Cape Town. This film traces the harrowing travails of Pierre Ndaye Mulamba, whose talent on the ball saw him rise to great heights in his native DRC. He was a key member of the Zaire national team that was the first sub-Saharan team to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. Mobutu, the then dictator, told the team to win or never return. They lost. Upon his return, he was shot in the leg, a victim of a so-called robbery, and endured continuing persecution which forced him to flee the DRC. Using unique archival footage and interviews with other key players the film reveals an extraordinary man who has been unfairly punished and sadly neglected, a man who should be restored to his rightful place in the pantheon of football greats.

Courtesy of Rainbow Circle Films and Michel de Wouters Productions

CAPE TOWN LABIA: THU 19 / 8.30pm + Q&A WED 25 / 6.30pm
JOBURG   SAT 28 / 5pm



SA / 2010 / 68min / Courtesy of Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking


Dir: Tamandani Kapisa / SA / 2010 / 12min

A humorous account of a day in the life of young boys, with painted faces, dancing at intersections to entertain passers-by.


Dir: Palesa Shongwe / SA / 2010 / 8min

Picture, poetry, voice and music are woven together in a contemplative short piece about the lingering memory of youth. Using dance as a metaphor, the film reflects on how ‘growing-up’ and moving on, can unexpectedly stifle freedom and creativity.


Dir: Masechaba Mogane / SA / 2010 / 6min

A charming story about the origins of hand-signs used by taxi commuters in Johannesburg to let taxi drivers know where they need to get to.


Dir: Nami Mhlongo / SA / 2010 / 15min

Prof. Adam Habib and the Khutsong residents consider South Africa’s successes and failures as a democracy 16 years on.


Dir: Palesa Shongwe / SA / 2010 / 17min

A poignant piece highlighting the harsh realities of migrant youth hoping for a better life in South Africa.


Dir: Khanysile Maimela / SA / 2010 / 11min

A beautifully shot short piece exploring how unemployed youth in Vereeniging survive in a not ‘entirely legit’ way but still dream and aspire to better things.

CAPE TOWN V&A: WED 18 / 6.30pm + Q&A SUN 22 / 6.00pm + Q&A
JOBURG   WED 25 / 8.30pm + Q&A


Congo in Four Acts

DIRS: Dieudo Hamadi, Divita Wa Lusala & Kiripi Katembo Siku
DRC / SA / 2010 / 69min

These 4 shorts, by first-time Congolese filmmakers, offer a rare glimpse of life there, stories that range from the absurd to the horrifying to the heartbreaking; from mothers and their babies held hostage at a maternity hospital until they can pay their bills to small
children breaking rocks at an exhausted mine. Unflinchingly honest, the young filmmakers have created moments of visual poetry and compassionately reveal the frailty, doggedness and beauty of ordinary people living in intolerable circumstances.

Courtesy of the Producer

Official Selection Berlinale, Hot Docs Canada 2010

CAPE TOWN V&A: Wed 18 / 8.45pm Thu 26 / 6.30pm
JOBURG   Sun 22 / 7.30pm


Driving with Fanon

DIR: Steve Kwena Mokwena / SA / Sierra Leone / 2010 / 70min

Our guides in this searing film about contemporary Sierra Leone are a journalist, a poet and an ex-combatant. They recall the horror of the 10-year long civil war, offering warnings of the unresolved and complex contagion of violence, “People’s memories are very short here in this part of Africa.” With wisdom a cautionary backdrop, the film reveals the trembling violence, bristling just below the surface of Freetown, as animosity and suspicion are revisited at a car accident scene. Mokwena’s daring, unsettling film, with its atmospheric soundtrack that counterpoints the jagged angles, pierces our slumbering recollections and challenges a new generation of Africans to ask and answer the hardest questions about our recent past and uneasy post-colonial present.

Courtesy of the Director



DIRS: Riaan Hendricks / SA / 2010 / 24min

Here we meet prolific printmaker and artist uMaqubula at his studio in Durban, desperately trying not to scare away a potential customer. Usually confident and upbeat, but obviously putting on a brave act for the camera, uMaqubula is desperate for a sale. His landlord is on his back and his wife is harassing him for money. With a prime spot in the studio and his vivid merchandise on display, he just needs to lure in one more tourist and gently charm a sale with his vibrant artworks.

Courtesy of the Director

CAPE TOWN V&A: SAT 14 / 6pm + Q&A (The Sorrow Of Umaqubula)
  LABIA: SAT 21 / 6pm Q&A (Driving With Fanon)


Mario & the Rude Boys

DIR: Michael Bardsley / Ayla Hill / SA / 2010 / 52min

In our backyard, on the sandy Flats and among the Hard Livings, Ugly Americans, Rude Boys and Junky Funky Kids – the hard, ugly, rude and junk infested gangs – is a man with balls, footballs. Mario and the Rude Boys tells the raw and compelling story of Mario van Niekerk, an ex-gangster who has taken up the fight against these notorious gangs, his only weapon - soccer, and a determination to prove that there is an alternative, that the seemingly inevitable path to the brutal brotherhood is not the only choice. When Mario spots Rude Boy Pitta, a talented football player, he sets out to save him from the clutches of the druglords and gangland heavies. With the backdrop of a powerful local hip hop soundtrack, this film shows how Mario and his Great Commission United are winning small victories on this larger battlefield.

Courtesy of the Director

CAPE TOWN LABIA: SAT 14 / 6.30pm + Q&A FRI 27 / 8.30pm



DIR: Djo Tunda wa Munga / DRC / 2010 / 50min

The collective trauma visited upon the survivors of violent wars, on the scale of those seen in the DRC over the past decade, cripples individual productivity and all attempts at national restoration and repair. So, what can be done to heal a nation? Congolese filmmaker wa Munga follows an intriguing psychological experiment led by the 80-year old Albert Pesso, using his psychomotor therapy technique. Shot during group sessions conducted in the DRC, and interspersed with beautiful images of people and countryside that counterpoint the real ‘State of Mind’ of the nation, the film reveals startling results. It shows how non verbal interactions can unlock memories and how the healing process transcends languages and cultures; processes that, if implemented on a national scale, could enable millions of people to regain the energy to live meaningful lives.

Courtesy of the Director

  V&A: WED 25 / 8.45pm


Unhinged: Surviving Jo’burg

DIR: Adrian Loveland / SA / 2010 / 52min

Survive, thrive is the anthem of Johannesburg. Loveland takes you on a spin (literally) through and around Jo’burg in this doccie. He calls it a black documentary and throws all the crazy, sad, hectic and magic of Jo’burg at you with a mixture of facts, photography and footage. The commentary and visuals of him is a good dose to the mix, and that probably holds the secret of what makes Johannesburg work – Jozi sense of humour. Look out for his Hadeda impersonation – for those of you who don’t know, it’s a very big pesky bird that is a signature to Africa’s gateway. The script and visuals are fast and inspiring and no nonsense, even though it might leave you feeling sentimental about the city’s magic - if you are familiar with it. If you are a Joburg newbie, the film will most certainly be a truthful helper and teaser that will make you feel compelled to visit it.

Courtesy of the Director and the SABC

CAPE TOWN V&A FRI 20 / 6.45pm
  LABIA: FRI 27 / 6.45pm
JOBURG   SAT 28 / 3pm