There are some movies that every South African should see and perhaps at the top of that list is the documentary film, Amandla! – A revolution in four part harmony.

The film documents the songs and music that have shaped South Africa as a country under the ruthless oppression of Apartheid to a free and democratic nation. Having first been released in 2002 it is not a new movie, but one that carries a very important message for all South Africans.

In the film, South African musicians, playwrights, poets and activists recall the struggle against apartheid from the 1940s to the 1990s that stripped black citizens of South Africa of basic human rights, and the important role that music played in that struggle. The documentary uses a mixture of interviews, musical performances and historical film footage. Among the South Africans who take part are Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, Vusi Mahlasela and others.


If you’ve lived in Cape Town for a long time and have walked past the Abdullah Ibrahim memorial in Bloem street many times thinking that it’s just an elaborate ash tray, then you’ll love some of the insight that this movie will give you.

As South Africa continues to find its rightful place on the global stage, it would be a crying shame for us to forget or neglect our nation’s natural historic aptitude for song and rhythm.