Africa Film WebMeeting

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Wed, 26 Nov 1997 07:04:37 -0800 (PST)

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    Originally dated: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 07:04:37 -0800 (PST)

    > Subject: A film on Govan Mbeki
    > I am new on this discussion group and want to introduce myself as
    > well as discuss a very special documentary that has been made on the
    > life of the African Nationalist Congress leader Govan Mbeki.
    > I lecture history at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town,
    > South Africa. Most of our students come from disadvantaged
    > communities and the resources of the university were severly limited
    > during the days of apartheid. However, in recent years the History
    > Department has developed a concern around issues of public history,
    > in particular with representations of the past through visual media.
    > We run a post-graduate course on public history, a key component of
    > which is how movies which claim to be historical represent pasts.
    > One of the most interesting movies about individuals in the South
    > African liberation struggle that I have seen recently is Heart and
    > Stone, which is directed by Bridget Thompson. It is about the life
    > of the South African political activist who became vice-president of
    > the first Senate of the new south African parliament Govan Mbeki. He
    > is also the father of Thabo Mbeki who is set to become the next
    > president of South Africa after Nelson Mandela retires.
    > What I found remarkable about this movie is that it cuts across all
    > the conventional narratives about the South african past that are set
    > in a nationalist paradigm. It tells about aspects that are not
    > usually spoken about in political biographies - family life, music,
    > interaction with traditional structures in rural areas etc. It is
    > also a deeply personal movie and I highly recommend it for people
    > teaching about oral history methodologies, South African history and
    > how different histories interact with each other.
    > One of the fascinating things is that it is not only about rural
    > struggles in South Africa but also about how these struggles interact
    > with previous pasts, particularly in the eastern Cape. I feel that it
    > tells more about South Africa and its past than those histories which
    > follow the line of the rise and emergence of political individuals
    > and organisations. If anyone is interested in the movie they
    > could contact the director, Bridget Thompson at or
    > check out the home page of tomas films,
    > Leslie Witz
    > Dr Leslie Witz
    > History Department
    > University of Western Cape
    > P Bag X17
    > Belville
    > 7535
    > ph - (27) (21) 959-2225/2862
    > Fax - (27) (21) 959-3598

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