Amandla! A Revolution In Four-part Harmony

Lee Hirsch.

South Africa / USA 2002, 108 min.

How can you go wrong with a cast like this? Amandla! stars Nelson Mandela, and the all-time heroes of South African music Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Abdullah Ibrahim. The credentials and soundtrack are impeccable.

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-part Harmony explores the role of music in the ANC’s fight to liberate South Africa: songs of protest, songs of mourning, songs of celebration and jingles to assist in military training. “We put in an AK there, took out a bible there,” explains a former ANC combatant on the art of adapting Christian songs to a guerrilla camp. There are more fabulous one-liners (“They banned the songs, but how do you stop people from singing?”); a highlight is the interview with white, former riot-control policemen over a barbie. The film is a co-production with the SABC, which provided extraordinary archive footage.

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