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CAPE TOWN SAT 29 8.30pm SUN 6 4pm

Gold Miners

South Africa 1968 21min
Dir: J. Blake Dalrymple

Ostensibly “detailing the training and education that will eventually forge a miner out of an ordinary white South African” this sinister little (award-winning) film was made 20 years into the rule of the Nationalist Party. The cheerful, authoritative voice over, accompanied by a spaghetti western tune, insists that all is well, and white, in the Land of Gold. The adage ‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ has been extrapolated to ‘what you can’t see doesn’t exist’. No black men worked on the mines. It’s true. Come see for yourself.

South Africa – A Preview For The Visitor

South Africa 1955 34min
Dir: H.C. Weaven

A forerunner of the proliferation of “South Africa’s not a bad place to be” films produced in the 1960s and 70s – those desperate hard-sell variety that included inserts of acceptable credit cards – this 1955 version is a post-war release. It has a post austerity feel about it, a sense of relief, and in South Africa black people were still more of a tourist attraction than a threat. It will engender a hint of nostalgia, it is incredibly stylish – remember when cars and clothes had shape – and contains scenes of African rural and urban life that have long since disappeared.

Anatomy Of Apartheid

South Africa 1964 25min
Dir: Antony Thomas

This is a sales pitch for apartheid, particularly for the establishment of the “homelands”. Featuring music credited as provided by ‘Radio Bantu’ – used no doubt to give the impression of buy-in by black people – we are introduced to the Transkei, and see how people living there must adjust: some to ‘self-rule’; others, the white farmers, ostensibly to no longer being in charge of their destinies. The real curiosity is that the filmmaker, a young South African, making pro-apartheid films, made an about-face politically and became an ANC supporter. After a brief imprisonment he was expelled from the country, went to Britain where, by 1984, he became one of the best known and most controversial of documentary producers. Encounters screened his film In Search of Sondra Laing in 2003.

Films courtesy of the National Film, Video and Sound Archives