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FREE AT LAST FILM FESTIVAL

BHLAKHROZE

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well, under the current climate of espionage and other such skulduggery, the timing may be most inopportune. it caused me quite the unexpected chuckle i must say. but nonetheless, it is happening:



FREE AT LAST Film Festival
CAPE TOWN, 11 – 13 February & JOHANNESBURG, 11 February 2010
Visit www.freeatlast.co.za for further information


Twenty years ago, after having spent 27 years behind bars, Nelson Mandela, the world’s most famous
prisoner walked out of Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. Awe and disbelief was on the faces of many,
expressions of overwhelming joy, people burst into the streets across the country, brandishing posters and
flags banned for decades. Mandela has become an icon and moral authority of near universal appeal and
South Africa a young democracy – reasons to celebrate this anniversary with some of the best films made
about Mandela and the Anti-Apartheid movement, as well as raw footage that will transport audiences back
to that hot Sunday in February 1990.

“By 3.30, I began to get restless, as we were already behind schedule. I told the members of the Reception
Committee that my people had been waiting for me for twenty-seven years and I did not want to keep
them waiting any longer (…).” (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Little, Brown & Company,
London, 1994, page 552 & 553) 

For decades, news coming out of South Africa focused on forced removals, repressive, racist laws,
ma**acres, raids, torture, imprisonment. Headlines filled with tales of violence and suffering: Sharpeville,
Soweto, Steve Biko and Ruth First, Matthew Goniwe and David Webster, the State of Emergency, letter
bombs and hit squads.

On 2 February 1990, at the opening of parliament, President FW de Klerk surprised not only his own cabinet
but the world at large when he announced the unbanning of banned political organizations and the
unconditional release of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela.

“At first I could not really make out what was going on in front of us, but when I was within 150 feet or so,
I saw a tremendous commotion and a great crowd of people: hundreds of photographers and television
cameras and newspeople as well as several thousands of well-wishers. I was astounded and a little bit
alarmed. I had truly not expected such a scene; at most, I had imagined that there would be several dozen
people, mainly the warders and their families (…).”

On 5 May 1962, together with Cecil Williams, a theatrical producer who had provided a front for Mandela to
act as his driver, Mandela was arrested outside Howick, in Natal. Williams enabled Mandela to defy his
banning order and travel the country. Initially, Mandela was arrested for leaving South Africa illegally and
for incitement to strike but once most of the ANC leadership had been arrested at Lilliesleaf Farm in
Rivonia, he ended up being charged for sabotage, sharing the dock with Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg,
Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Walter Sisulu and Raymond Mhlaba, facing the death
sentence. Mandela, a lawyer by profession and skilled orator, turned the Rivonia Trial into a political trial, a
platform from which he justified the ANC’s position and its shift to the armed struggle:

“I am the First Accused (…)During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African
people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have
cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with
equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for
which I am prepared to die.”

Sent to Robben Island for life imprisonment like so many others, Mandela and his fellow prisoners
endured harsh conditions, manual labour, ruthless warders and even torture. The apartheid government
expected the world and South Africa to forget about the “Black Pimpernel” and his comrades.
By the 1980s, however, Mandela had become the world’s most prominent prisoner, the focus of many
“Release Mandela” campaigns and rallies. International pressure, the fall of the Berlin Wall, which ushered
in the end of the bipolar world order, burning townships and more and more ungovernable areas in South
Africa lead to secret “talks about talks” between the banned ANC and the Nats government, resulting in
South Africa’s “glasnost”.

“Within twenty feet or so of the gate, the cameras started clicking, a noise that sounded like some great
herd of metallic beasts. (…) It was a happy, if slightly disorienting, chaos. When a television crew thrust a
long, dark and furry object at me, I recoiled slightly, wondering if it were some newfangled weapon
developed while I was in prison. Winnie informed me that it was a microphone.”

“When I was among the crowd I raised my right fist, and there was a roar. I had not been able to do that
for twenty-seven years and it gave me a surge of strength and joy. (…). As I finally walked through those
gates to enter a car on the other side, I felt - even at the age of seventy-one - that my life was beginning
anew. My ten thousand days of imprisonment were at last over."
Who is this man, the world was campaigning, picketing and waiting for? How did the liberation movements
fight, mobilize and justify their struggle against oppression?

A unique selection of renowned local and international filmmakers and award-winning non-fiction films, as
well as the raw historical footage of the day of Mandela’s release, take us back to one of the most significant
historical events of the 20th century. They remind us of the pain, sacrifices, but also the joys, the indomitable
spirit, the victories and the humanity that characterized the struggle.

The challenges facing South Africa remain significant two decades after Mandela’s long walk lead him out of
jail – the reasons to celebrate, however, do too.

At a time where some miss the collective consciousness, the magic of the early 90s, the unity in purpose of
the struggle years, and the electrifying mood, the excitement, the air filled with hope and possibilities,
brotherhood and goodwill, these films provide insight and inspiration, allow audiences to take stock, draw
parallels, reflect and debate, relive South Africa’s “Zero Hour” and make sure that we never forget what it
took. Amandla!

For media queries please contact:
Nathalie Rosa Bucher
0768 310 434 or 021 465 5805
press@freeatlast.co.za

Patrons: Denis Goldberg & Andrew Mlangeni
- soul activist. poet. flower. fairy -


BHLAKHROZE

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* and no colin, you do not have to read all of thaaaat *
- soul activist. poet. flower. fairy -


BHLAKHROZE

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...and then. quite on another note, perhaps a little more fitting of your tune double R, this:


a documentary called WELCOME NELSON which will be broadcast by etv on wednesday 10 february at 8pm.

This documentary takes a different angle on the 20th anniversary celebrations of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

The release is analysed in terms of Guy Debord's theory of the spectacle and views the event as an entirely staged media coup for the Machiavellian F.W. De Klerk.


Instead of the customary portrayal of Dr. Mandela as a liberating Messiah he is shown to have been taken completely by surprise by his release, pleading with De Klerk to allow him to stay inside for longer, and tragically identifying with his white warders in what must be one of the most acute cases of Stockholm Syndrome in history.

The never-before screened behind the scenes footage of the press conference and first speech provides a fascinating glimpse into how the news media shape and manipulate our memories of the future.

The documentary is shot, produced and directed by CRAIG MATTHEW
sound design and original music score DANIEL EPPEL
sound recordist WARRICK SONY
theme song SIMONE WHITE
editor ARYAN KAGANOF

2010, 23 minutes
first broadcast wednesday 10 february 8pm on etv

more information on Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle is here:
http://kaganof.com/kagablog/category/categories/society-of-the-spectacle/
- soul activist. poet. flower. fairy -