The role of films in redressing societal ills cannot be overemphasized. Flashing back to historical African films that have challenged status quo and sought to change the narrative, we take a look at “Sarafina.”

‘Sarafina” is a 1992 anti-apertheid South African Musical, written by Mbogeni Ngema and directed by Darrell Roodt.

The movie is about students that are involved in the Soweto Riots. The riots are staged to emphasize the opposition to the implementation of Afrikaans as the teaching language in schools. The character Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) feels shame at her mother’s (Miriam Makeba) acceptance of her role as a domestic servant in a white household during the apartheid in South Africa, and inspires her peers to rise up in protest, especially after her inspirational teacher, Mary Masombuka (Whoopi Goldberg) is imprisoned.

Sarafina tells a powerful story of the horrific situation of South Africans during the apartheid period and their fight for freedom. This is mirrored through the eyes of a young teenager “Sarafina” played by Leleti Khumalo, who is arrested for her radicality, but later released. Whoopi Goldberg also stood out in her role as Mary Masombuka, a teacher who was ready to stand till the end for what she believed was right.

The  film stars Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, John Kani and Tertius Meintjies.

The one hour and 17minutes long film was shot in Soweto and Johannesburg and has since its release in 1992 stirred debates, discussions and criticism.

“Sarafina” still holds a relevant position in the African Cinema history. It can be recalled that the movie was earlier shown at the Kenya National theatre in July, 2018.

Which old African film is your favourite of all time?

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