World Premieres of the Opening and Closing Night Films Announced

The political zeitgeist in South Africa could not be a better time to introduce Tara Moore’s excavation of South Africa’s history – Legacy: The Decolonized History of South Africa. As the promise of a Government of National Unity (GNU) embarks upon the task of uniting the country to dismantle the staggering inequality, Moore’s film opens the festival and is indicative of the fearless conversations that DIFF initiates at this juncture of uncertainty and excitement in the country’s history.

Tara Moore uses her diverse background and personal experience of living between South Africa and Connecticut as a unique vantage point to offer a perspective on her country of origin. In a bid to come to terms with South Africa’s past she interrogates the legacy of apartheid and the persistent inequality which continues thirty years into our democracy. Interviews with cabinet ministers who served in Nelson Mandela’s cabinet including Pallo Jordan, Barbara Masekela, Mac Maharaj, and Jay Naidoo offer timely reflections as President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet in the GNU charter a new future for South Africa.

Constitutional Court Judge, Albie Sachs who returned to South Africa from exile in 1990 after the unbanning of the ANC offers his razor-sharp insights into the prevailing system and how South Africa is still haunted by the legacy of apartheid. Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of the architect of Apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, reckons with the past and the present in his frank and deeply personal understanding of the legacy of trauma to shine a light on the responsibility for restitution and reparation.

President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-ridden ascent, reign, and ultimate ousting come under sharp scrutiny in the festival’s closing film, Craig Tanner’s, The Showerhead which affords audiences an insight into the South African political landscape via the acute observations of the political cartoonist, Zapiro.

Zapiro’s keen-eyed capture of issues in the post-Mandela period is matched only by the actual state capture which he has wryly portrayed on a regular basis. The complexities of corruption, subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law, and threats to free speech are conveyed with the subtle stroke of a pen. The film considers freedom of expression in contemporary South Africa with reference to the boundaries tested in Zapiro’s cartoons and his resolute defiance of attempts to stifle his work and affirms his continuing relevance.

Zapiro’s work, which as Brett Murray has said, “speaks for itself, clearly, articulately and is brazenly accurate” is examined from his period as an anti-apartheid struggle artist to his enduring role as a progressive commentator and freedom-of-expression champion. The role of art in flying the flag for the uncensored flow of information is magnified in this personal archiving of the political.

“Art and culture play a critical role in strengthening South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Section 16 of the South African Constitution guarantees Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Creativity. At the Durban International Festival our programme affords a unique opportunity to both record and reflect on our shared histories and allow audiences the time and space to interrogate our past with a view to building a meaningful and sustainable future”, says Andrea Voges, Head of Programming and Festival Manager.

“In this 30th year of our Constitutional Democracy DIFF is proud to share so many of these opportunities in this, the 45th edition of a festival that celebrates South African film and the role that filmmakers can play both as witness and defenders of democracy”, she adds.

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