South-African cinema depicts some of the everyday highs and lows and unique challenges South Africans face. From feel-good stories based on true events to animation and comedies, here are ten films will make you fall in love with South Africa.
Come Back, Africa (1959)
Martin Scorsese described Come Back, Africa as “a heroic film of terrible beauty.” The film had an intense effect on African cinema due to its touching historical and cultural significance as it documents the distinctive heritage of South African townships during the 1950s. Portraying actual events and real people, the film reveals an interpretation of meaningful social truths and a strong ethical assumption towards human behavior.
In My Country (2004)
In My Country tells the story of Afrikaner Anna Malan and American journalist, Langston Whitfield, sent to South Africa to report on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. The two characters are drawn closer together, regardless of the many differences between them. In My Country rings so true to actual events that a special screening was held for Nelson Mandela in December 2003.
Invictus is a 2009 American-South African biographical-sports drama directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The film depicts the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup that united the country after the fall of apartheid.
Donovan Marsh directed 2010’s Spud, based on the novel of the same name by John van de Ruit. The film takes place in South Africa and chronicles 14-year-old John Milton’s first year at an elite boarding school for boys. Coming from an ordinary background, John needs some help adjusting to his new lifestyle.
Material tells the story of Cassim Kaif, who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian—a notion that his conservative father strongly disproves of. Cassim’s father wants him to take over the family business, a struggling fabric shop, and the film cleverly juxtaposes the clash between youth, tradition, and religion with comedic snippets that’ll evoke both sympathy and laughter.
Fanie Fourie’s Lobola (2013)
Fanie, a young Afrikaner man, invites a beautiful Zulu woman as his date to a friend’s wedding. She agrees, but only if he does a favour for her as well. The two embark on a humorous journey to evade marriage pressures from her parents and cultural and traditional differences until, eventually, they genuinely fall in love.
Long Walk To Freedom (2013)
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work written by South African President Nelson Mandela. The film profiles his early life, coming of age, education, and his 27 years in prison. Mandela achieved international recognition for his leadership as president in rebuilding the country’s once-segregated society.
A 3D-South African, computer-animated comedy film, Khumba tells the story of a half-striped zebra who is seen as a symbol of bad luck. Blamed for the lack of rain by the rest of his narrow-minded, superstitious herd, he embarks on a dangerous quest to earn his stripes and prove his worth.
Wonder Boy for President (2016)
A surprisingly-gentle satire about our political system, Wonder Boy for President has a grungy, low-budget feel. The mockumentary documents the rise and fall of a small-town guy in big-city politics, specifically within the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League.
Dis Koue Kos, Skat (2016)
This romantic comedy tells the story of Clara, a food writer who discovers that her husband is cheating on her with one of her best friends. Her life turned upside down, she moves to Cape Town with her two children. There, she rediscovers her true nature and uncovers the appeal of food in romance.