Event Date and time: October 31 | 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM   

Venue details: Hackney Picturehouse | 270 Mare Street, London E8 1HE

Organisers: Film Africa0203 073 8337 | |

The Royal African Society | 20 3073 8335 |

Event website: FILM AFRICA 2016 – SOWETO: 40 YEARS ON

Event cost: £7

On 16 June 1976, some 20,000 students from schools across the Johannesburg township of Soweto took to the streets in protest to the introduction of Afrikaans, famously labelled the “language of the oppressor” by Desmond Tutu, as the teaching medium. What began peacefully ended in carnage; police killed an estimated 700 young protesters in a display of brutality that shook the world, and was the eventual death knell for the country’s racist government. 40 years on, this date is now the popular Youth Day holiday. With a new wave of student protests currently sweeping the country, Film Africa presents a double bill to remember the sacrifices and successes of the youth movement, while also highlighting the deep racial and class inequalities still being felt across South Africa today.



Dir. S Bongwana, J.O Gaegane, S Gibson, N Shandu, A Kupa & G More  
France. 2016. 60 mins. Afrikaans, Zulu with English subtitles. N/C 15+ 
Faced with endemic corruption and increasing inequality, many South Africans are tired, frustrated and angry. Local politicians with little accountability make promises on long-awaited housing that, months or even years later, have not materialised. Activists take to the streets with megaphones, fervently urging communities to galvanise against a system that has forgotten them. Together, they say, we will be heard. Captured by six young filmmakers living in poor areas of Soweto, this seething indictment of South Africa’s political elite brings to the fore the voices of those excluded from the so-called ‘rainbow nation’ post-apartheid dream.


Dir. Darrell James Roodt  
South Africa, UK, France, USA. 1992. 114 mins. English.  15+

Soweto, South Africa, 1976. A new world is opening up for a group of young black students, whose extraordinary teacher, Mary (Whoopi Goldberg), defies the authorities and dares to teach them truths that are not found in approved textbooks. For one pupil in particular, Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo), this forbidden curriculum will have a far reaching impact on her life. To mark 40 years since the Soweto Uprisings and 25 years since the celebrated musical Sarafina!, we remember the spirit and resilience of the youth of Soweto, who battled against the brutal apartheid Government and in doing so changed the course of their country’s history.

The screening will be followed by a discussion on human rights, and stories of how communities are taking action to have their voices heard on the streets and in the courts.


Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s  annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Launched in 2011, Film Africa is now the UK’s largest festival of African film and culture. Every year, Film Africa brings London audiences a core programme of fiction and documentary films alongside a vibrant series of accompanying events, including director Q&As, panel discussions, talks, workshops, master classes, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.
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