In the 1940s, the
Afrikaner National Party gained control of South Africa. Unfortunately for the
majority of the populace (who were black), these white supremacist
trouser-snakes instituted a terrifyingly moronic and utterly inhuman policy
called Apartheid. Some have claimed that religion was the motivation for this
new act, but it seems far more likely that it was implemented as a means of
increasing control of the land and economy of the nation.
Whatever the motivation
for Apartheid, there can be no argument that it spelled disaster for the black
members of society. Brutal segregation laws were instituted, and South
Africans of colour were treated as lesser humans for a great many years.
Despite being the massive majority, they were powerless against the gun-toting
thugs that enforced the white rule. BUT…
They still had music.
Amandla! Is a look at the way music was used by the black South Africans as a
method of peaceful protest. I don’t really love traditional African music, but
it was really interesting to see interviews with these people, for whom music
truly was an escape from the stark horrors of their reality. The highlight of
the film (for me) – two ladies reminisce about singing to white people in
their own language. The whites cheer, not realizing that these apparently
obsequious “couloured folk” are singing “watch out whites, we’ll shoot you,
we’ll kill you”. Nice work ladies.
Amandla! is not a film
for everyone, but it’s an interesting lesson in history and an example of the
way in which music really can be used to lift people out of despair, and make
a difference in the world. Good stuff.
The video quality varies
from fairly good, in the recent footage, to fairly bad in the old footage.
No-one can be blamed though – it’s old film footage and nothing more could be
expected. The video does the job and that’s all that can be asked for from a
documentary of this nature.
The audio quality is
fine. Obviously there’s a lot of African music, and it all sounds as it
should. There’s not really much to tell – it’s not an astounding soundtrack,
but it all works perfectly. No complaints.
There are some good
extras. We get an audio commentary, a Q&A session with the director, producer
and a famous African musician, and live footage of the aforementioned musician
playing. There’s also some production notes and the obligatory trailer. Nice.