African Media Program
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South Africa Belongs to Us (1980)

Director: Chris Austin, Peter Chappell, Ruth Weiss. Production Co. Gerhard Schmidt Production, WDR. Production Country: Canada.
Format: 16mm, VHS/NTSC. 35 minutes. Color

Distributor Descriptions: This intimate portrait of five typical black South African women reveals the dehumanizing reality of life under apartheid. The personal stories of a wife left behind in the homelands, a hospital cleaner living in a single-sex hostel, a public health nurse from Soweto, a domestic servant and a leader of a squatters' camp, still provide the best introduction on film to the daily violence wreaked by apartheid on family life and the social fabric. At the same time, these five women's resilience demonstrate the strength which will be able to build a new South Africa.

Country: South Africa

Languages: Narration English. Subtitles English. Speech English.

Audience: Adult, Graduate, High School, Undergraduate

Genre: documentary

Specific Subjects: Afrocentric, apartheid/anti-apartheid, human rights, liberation movements, political leaders, political movements, political organizations, politics/government

Synopsis: The film presents a view of apartheid from the perspectives of five black women in South Africa.

Critique: Although this is one of the older anti-apartheid videos (1980), it remains one of the best video overviews of the apartheid system and its impacts on ordinary people, in this case five women. Unlike many videos, this one spans the gamut of social situations from the rural "homelands" or Bantustans, to the single sex mine hostels, an urban shanty town or squatter camp, a domestic servant in a white area, and the sprawling communities of Soweto (Johannesburg). Film clandestinely, the video focuses on the impacts on families. Interviews with ANC Winnie Mandela and BCM Numisi Khuzwayo are included. The video can be used to teach about gender issues in South Africa, but its scope and relevance is much wider. We highly recommend it.

10 - Interview with Martha Zwane, a resident of Lebowa reserve with 13 children; husband, Obed, is a cleaner in Johannesburg, 300 miles away; she describes how she manages to live on R40 per month (U.S. $60) which her husband sends her; there is no work in Lebowa, and nothing grows in the arid land; her husband has worked for 20 years in Johannesburg and is only able to visit his family once a year; under South African law, his family may not live with him in the city.
2 - Interview with Fatima Meer, an Asian woman who was head of the banned Black Women's Federation, presents statistics on black women's plight: the average family size of 6 dependents must be supported on an average of R16 per month sent back from husbands who work in the cities while their families live on reserves; Meer was banned after the 1976 uprisings.
3 - Black nursing sister in Soweto describes the difficulties of raising children when both parents are forced to work without child care; notes that white nurses receive over twice the salary black nurses although their training and work are the same.
6 - Several women recount the uprisings of 1976 in Soweto; several 'self-help' organizations assist needy members of the community; women emphasize that only determination can keep the community together.
8 - Hostel for 4,000 single black women workers is closely guarded; women in this hostel live 4 to a room and share cooking facilities; cannot have visits from their children; infractions of hostel rules are punished with stays in the hostel's prison; one of the women workers describes her life in the hostel, works a 60-hour week for about R20, while her six children live in a reserve 120 miles away; sees no prospect for ever being able to live with her children again.
4 - Numsizi Khuzwayo, an educationalist who was a member of the banned Black Consciousness Movement, has been detained five times; discusses the need to put one's beliefs before concerns for individual needs, even when the individuals are members of one's family. sufferings and separation make them all stronger; she has raised her children to prepare for the new society.
7 - Interview with Joyce Lesedi, a domestic servant in a white home who must live alone in servants' quarters, while her four children live with relatives in Soweto; long working hours do not allow her to visit with her children often.
3 - Winnie Mandela, wife of the imprisoned African National Congress leader, says that the whites themselves have created the situation where divisions in South Africa are drawn on racial lines, her banishment has made her realize the extent to which her people must support their ideals.
5 - Crossroads squatter township near Cape Town was targeted for demolition by the government; residents were sent to live in Transkei, 600 miles away; settlement had no water, no arable land, no cattle, and no employment opportunities; Muriel is a typical Crossroads resident who has been sent to 9 different reserves in 15 years; since she could not support herself in any of these places, she has always returned to Crossroads; in 1979 the women of Crossroads organized themselves and defied government attempts to destroy their homes; after an international outcry, the government granted them a temporary reprieve, but the final confrontation is yet to come.
5 - Fatima Meer believes change will come to South Africa, and it is inevitable that the change will be violent; black women will have to play their part in the struggle; Winnie Mandela states that the situation will not change easily, but black victory is certain.

Suggested Uses: An introduction to the apartheid system of South Africa is essential.

Reviews: Click Here

Distributor Info:
University of Cape Town African Studies Library
University of Cape Town
Private Bag
Rondebosch, Wes 7701 South Africa
Phone: +27 (021) 650-3107
Fax: +27 (021) 689-7568
Holds a library copy of the video but is not a video distributor.

Icarus Films (Sale and Rent)
32 Court Street
21st Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Phone: (800) 876-1710
Fax: (718) 488-8642
Has changed its name from First Run/Icarus Films to Icarus Films

Additional phone number:
(718) 488-8900

See: MI-7

In Europe:
22 Passage des Petites Ecuries
75010 Paris, France

Replaces Impact Films.

California Newsreel: Library of African Cinema (Sale and Rent)
500 Third Street
Suite 505
San Francisco, CA 94107 USA
Phone: 415-284-7800, ext.
Fax: (415-284-7801

Bowdoin College Library
3000 College Station
Bowdoin College
Brunswick ME 04011
Phone: (207) 725-3280

Record updated: 2009-02-09 12:24:00

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