6 films exploring South African culture and history

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The Sydney South African Festival (SSAF) celebrations continue with a follow up to last month’s virtual celebrations with the launch of SSAF On Demand next month to be enjoyed nationally by all.   It offers a range of 16 films ($60) which viewers nationally can rent and view over a 24 hour period.  $8 gives you access to individual films in a showcase of South African culture, history and politics in a suite of dramas, documentaries and action films revisiting struggles for democracy, equality and complex political / economic realities.

Our picks:

South African The Last Victims

THE LAST VICTIMS: A former member of South Africa’s infamous death squad (C1 – Counter Insergency) must atone for his past when he helps one survivor, search for the bodies of a missing anti-apartheid cell. Unaware that as they hunt for answers, they too are being hunted.

South African Knuckle City

KNUCKLE CITY: Opening in 1994, Knuckle City shifts between the childhood and adult lives of the legendary boxing champion turned gangster Art Nyakama. Cut to 2019 and his two sons have grown up to follow closely in the footsteps of their father. Dudu Nyakama has become a womanizing professional boxer and Duke Nyakama is now a career criminal, chasing money and thrills at every turn. But Dudu is about to age out before he’s had his chance at fame, and the fight promoters have a lot more faith in the young talent coming up behind him than they do in his comeback chances. With Duke set to be released after a three-year stint in prison, Dudu enlists the help of his brother’s criminal connections to try to get himself one last shot – but both end up with a much bigger fight than they bargained for.

South African Buddha in Africa

BUDDHA IN AFRICA:  Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage, feels torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year of school, has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in China? Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the forces of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.

WHISPERING TRUTH TO POWER: This film charts the final year in office of South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, as she attempts to bring justice to ordinary people. After successfully challenging President Zuma for illegal use of state funds, she now has to face the biggest challenge of her career: investigating – in the face of protests, death threats and legal challenges – the alleged systematic takeover of government by a private family in cahoots with the President.  But how does one weigh the importance of fighting government corruption against the larger moral crime of continued inequality?

South African Glory Game

GLORY GAME – JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN:    Former South African Springbok captain Joost van der Westhuizen is no stranger to the spotlight. From fame on the rugby field to a scandalous fall from grace, his life has been public property. Now he tackles a disease which has no regard for his past triumphs, and again he lays himself bare to the world – fighting for survival, for his family and for others affected by Motor Neuron Disease. A compelling tale of redemption, set against the backdrop of sporting glory, this is the story of a modern day warrior forced to face his own human frailty. He discovers that beyond fame and success lies the true wealth of life and shows that within a ravaged body can surge the spirit of a survivor.

South African how to steal a country

HOW TO STEAL A COUNTRY:  How to Steal a Country shows how investigative journalists, with the help of whistle blowers, doggedly uncovered the systemic looting of South Africa’s most important state-owned enterprises, to the benefit of the Gupta brothers and then-President Zuma. It’s a suspenseful story of corruption, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations.

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As well as access to watch the films, tickets also get you exclusive content including filmmaker question and answer sessions, interviews with the directors and more.


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