U P R I Z E !
Film Screening: Saturday 3 June
Safiso Khanyile | South Africa | Documentary | 58 mins | 2016
This film is bring screened as part of Many Half Hours, a collaboration between Many Studios and Mushroom Hour Half Hour. The screening will be introduced via recorded video with the director and followed by a Q&A with Mushroom Hour Half Hour.
On the morning of 16 June 1976, a group of school children in Soweto gathered peacefully to protest the mandatory inclusion of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. By nightfall over 200 of them lay dead, mowed down by Apartheid armed forced. Forty years later, this film looks at the world that made these kids, and how in the absense of political leadership, they stood up to the might of an oppressive state. Speaking to artists, writers, musicians, teachers that inspired them, and some of the former student leaders themselves, we get a glimpse into 1970s South Africa and the cost of the fight for quality education and freedom. Especially relevant forty years later as university students once again take to the streets to fight the post-apartheid government on the issue of free quality education.
What world shaped the student uprise in 1976? What were the students reading, listening to? What drove them to mobilise on such a massive scale? What messaging linked them to their political leaders in prison and in exile? What were their organisational structures?
There have been many direct claims attributed to what information the youth struggle, this documentary will deal with the nuanced influences that may have shaped the events that precipitated in June 1976. What sort of literature was available, what music, which leaders took a stand or spoke clandestinely? What was the zeitgeist of 70s township South Africa? Many reports on the subject have been preoccupied with the sequence of events in '76, unravelling facts, identifying key players in the protest.
U P R I Z E ! seeks to move away from the singular narrative and paint a broader pictire of what the revailing ideas that sparked such widespread protest were. An inquiry into the spirit of youth in South Africa in the 70s, a critique of how in a world without political leaders, they managed to organise large scale protest.
It also looks at the motivations for language-based policies in education. Who was making decisions in the government, and what was their goal.
U P R I Z E ! also deals with how the youth of '76 helped shape a long tradition of protest in South Africa, and how it indluenced a new generation of activists, from the many youth led protests of the 80s, to the fallist movements of now...
Did the students in 1976 have a clear understanding of how their actions would directly affect the country's reputation, of how they would affect economy? Were they aware that this was to be bigger than just damage to property? How aware are students today of their actions?