South African Film Festival 2004 – New York
Ten Years of Freedom: Films from the New South Africa


All screenings at the Clearview 62nd and Broadway Cinema unless otherwise noted.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of South African freedom, SABC1, South Africa’s most watched channel, recruited and trained promising new directors to tell the stories of their ten years of freedom on film.

Project 10: Belonging
Dirs: Minky Schlesinger and Kethiwe Ngcobo
South Africa/2004
In English with subtitles
48min., color, video
North American Premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 4:00pm
Saturday, May 1, 2004 5:00pm

The daughter of an exile tries to find her place in South African and in
Zulu tradition.
Born into exile, Kethiwe Ngcobo returned from Britain to South Africa, her longed-for homeland, in 1994. This was a home Kethi had never seen, and nothing she could expect. Now, 10 years later and caught between two worlds, she struggles with questions of identity.

Shot in Johannesburg, London, and rural Kwazulu Natal, « Belonging » takes us with Kethi as she seeks healing in both the Western and African traditions.

Q & A with director to follow

Karoo Kitaar Blues
Dir: Liza Key
South Africa/2003
In English and Afrikaans, with subtitles
60 min., color, video
North American Premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:00pm
Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:00pm

A South African « Buena Vista Social Club ».
« Karoo Kitaar Blues » is a rousing documentary about a group of wildly
talented but utterly isolated musicians who eventually come to tour South Africa to rapturous crowds.

In the Karoo, a spare and desolate swath of South Africa, tobacco farms, cattle ranches, and bare plains dominate a landscape populated by white landowners and poor, Afrikaans-speaking, « colored » farm workers. In their isolation, these workers evolved a unique musical style played on homemade instruments, the Karoo kitaar blues. In this film, part music documentary and part road movie, musician David Kramer seeks out the Karoo’s hidden artists, offering a rare glimpse into a distant social and musical world.

A Lion’s Trail
Dir.: Francois Verster
South Africa/2002
In English and Zulu with subtitles
55 min., color, video
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:00pm
Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:00pm

The true story behind the song, « The Lion Sleeps Tonight »

Everyone can sing « The Lion Sleeps Tonight, » but how many realize its composer was a young Zulu shepherd? « A Lion’s Trail » recounts how Solomon Linda’s « Mbube » became the « Wimoweh » we know so well, and how his descendants still struggle to have him recognized as the true composer.

This award-winning documentary, by turns tragic and humorous, reveals how record companies and individual artists conspired to make this Zulu song an American hit, and keep the millions it earned to themselves. The film is both an indictment of the international recording industry and a celebration of a song’s timeless appeal, with a cast of characters that includes Ladysmith Black Mombazo, the Manhattan Brothers, and Pete Seeger.

Q&A with director to follow, with a special appearance by Pete Seeger.

Project 10: My Yeoville
Dir: Sello Molefe
South Africa/2004
In English
48 mins., color, video
World Premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 4:00pm
Saturday, May 1, 2004 5:00pm

A personal lament for a South African urban village in decay

Yeoville, one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs and long-time home to Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, became a non-racial bastion of anti apartheid struggles in the decade before South Africa’s first democratic election. It was once celebrated as a model of non-racial coexistence that attracted musicians, artists and political types, but today it is a symbol of crime and urban decay.

Director Sello Molefe grew up with his family in Yeoville, and this film is his love song and lament for his home.

Q & A with director to follow

Tsha Tsha
Dir: Tim Greene
South Africa
In English and Xhosa with subtitles
30 min segments
New York premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:45pm
Thursday, April 29, 2004 6:00pm

In this innovative, hip new television series, a teenager getting into trouble in Johannesburg is sent to work for his uncle in the rural Eastern Cape. At first, he is bored out of his mind. But as he is drawn into a group of local kids who take ballroom dance classes in his uncle’s bar, he learns that life in the sticks has as much intrigue, romance, and tragedy as anywhere else. The show shows how young people in the new South Africa deal with love, sex and relationships in an HIV positive world.

Yizo Yizo 3
Dir: Teboho Mahlatsi and Andrew Dosunmu
South Africa
In English, Zulu, Sotho, and Xhosa, with subtitles
30 min segments
World premiere
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:45pm
Thursday, April 29, 2004 6:00pm

When « Yizo Yizo » premiered on South African television in 1999, it created a sensation with its gritty, realistic portrait of life in a Soweto school.
The new series, premiering in April in South Africa, will be shown for the first time here. In it, the kids are grown up, out of school, and on their own in Johannesburg.
Partager :