Emotional, award-winning documentary on music and apartheid

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It’s now 10 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa. US documentary maker Lee Hirsch has spent all that time living in Jo’burg making Amandla!, a stirring, emphatic film that chronicles the evils of white supremacy in South Africa and celebrates the role music played in the struggle for liberation. The likes of Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Abdullah Ibrahim-all of whom spent more than 30 years in exile-movingly describe how music was a weapon in the fight for freedom, and a means of expression that united an oppressed nation (“Amandla” means “power” in the Xhosa language). Their contributions are intercut with archive footage of the Sharpeville massacre, the infamous pass laws and many of the other indignities heaped daily upon black South Africans. It’s both an inspiring and painful documentary that packs more of a dramatic and emotional punch than many Hollywood features and, deservedly, has won itself a brace of prestigious festival awards.


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