"Ten Years of Freedom" Celebrates South African Film in New York
by Brian Brooks
New York will mark ten years since the demise of apartheid April 27 with the opening of "Ten Years of Freedom: Films from the New South Africa," a week-long event that will be the largest celebration in the U.S. commemorating the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's election as president of the country. Opening the film event, which includes 43 titles over six nights, is "A Lion's Trail" by Francois Verster, a doc on Zulu shepherd Solomon Linde, who was the original writer of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which went on to become one of the most famous songs in recording history, although he never received any proceeds from the industry. Musician Pete Seeger will attend the screening, and will, according to an event release, make a special announcement following the film.
Director Linda Wilson will be on hand for Q&A following the New York premiere of "The Guguletu Seven," a look at the murders of seven South African blacks by apartheid police in 1986 that were accused of being terrorists. Vincent Moloi's "I Am a Rebel" will have its North American premiere. The film follows veteran liberation movement poet Dennis Brutus as he continues his 'rebellion' in contemporary South Africa and abroad. "Project 10: Belonging" will also have its North American premiere. Directed by Minky Schlesinger and Kethiwe Ngcobo, the film centers on Ngcobo, who returns to her 'home' in South Africa after being born in exile in the U.K. Questions of identity surface after being in her ancestral homeland for ten years. There will be a Q&A after the screening.
The series will hold a gala opening at the Schomburg Center in Harlem on April 26th, in addition to an AIDS benefit, a panel at NYU featuring a discussion on an array of South African issues, a photography exhibit in addition to a voter registration drive organized with Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Action Summit Network.
[ For a complete list of films and screening times, please visit: www.tenyearsoffreedom.org/films.html ]