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Filmography - African Feature Films

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018

African Feature Films - South Africa

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library catalog (



Africa is a woman's name. 2009, 1 videodisc (52 min.).  Follows three very different African women working to create change at all levels of society. SOUTH AFRICA. KENYA. ZIMBABWE. DVD 9240.

Beat the drum. 2003, 1 videodisc (114 min.).  A young boy looks for his uncle after a mysterious illness strikes his village and leaves him an orphan. As he tries to survive and learn about the world around him, he finds a job and returns to teach the elders of his village about truth and compassion. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 8829  

Bopha! 1993, 1 videodisc (118 min.). Micah Mangena, a sergeant in South Africa's police force and an unquestioning supporter of the powers that be, finds his world violently torn apart when his son wakes up to the evils of the apartheid system, of which Micah is a part. SOUTH AFRICA.             DVD 6005

Bunny chow know thyself. 2006, 1 videodisc (95 min.). Three aspiring young Johannesburg comedians find humor in relationships, hang out with friends, and go on a raucous road trip to Oppi Koppi, South Africa's largest music festival. SOUTH AFRICA.  DVD 8048 

Color of freedom. 2008, 1 videodisc (118 min.).  James Gregory is a racist South African guard whose certainties of life are shaken to the core. During a twenty year span, James spent his time as Nelson Mandela's prison warden. Shows the daily application of a major historic abonimation, known as Apartheid, as seen through the eyes of the average White South African. These are 'ordinary' people who are neither heroes nor villains, but obtuse conformists. The violence of the system on its white citizens was considerably more hidden than on its black ones, but it was violence all the same. White's were obligated to remain as ignorant as possible or be persecuted by the status quo.  SOUTH AFRICA / GERMANY. DVD 9098.

Come back, Africa. 1959, 2 videodiscs (341 min.). In 1957, Rogosin travelled to South Africa and created a powerfully, moving drama exposing the harsh reality of life under the system apartheid. Filmed secretly under the noses of the feared South African police, Rogosin, his crew, and cast risked arrest and deportation. Miriam Makeba was banned from her country after travelling to Venice for the movie's premiere. The scenes shot in the vibrant black ghetto of Sophiatown are precious images of a lost world.  Rogosin took the fight for equality to his homeland with Black roots, his documentary on African American life.  The extraordinary cast, including Reverend Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick, attorney and feminist activist Florynce "Flo" Kennedy, musicians Jim Collier, Wende [i.e. Wendy] Smith, Larry Johnson and Reverend Gary Davis, tell stories of heartbreak and despair while their songs blow the roof off the rafters. The film combines tales of oppression with hauntingly beautiful images of the faces of black men, women and children. SOUTH AFRICA.  DVD 11966

Cry, the beloved country. 1995, 1 videodisc (106 min.).  A black minister and white land owner are united by a tragedy, with the potential for further hatred or healing. SOUTH AFRICA.  DVD 10014 

District 9. 2009, 1 videodisc (112 min.).  Twenty years ago, aliens from another planet made contact with Earth. Now, the refugee camp they are forced to live in has deteriorated into a slum-like ghetto. When field operative Wikus van der Merwe is put in charge of evicting the aliens, he contracts a strange virus that changes his DNA to match that of the refugees. As his body begins to mutate, he becomes a hunted man, and the aliens' only hope for freedom. SOUTH AFRICA.  DVD 6686

A dry white season. 1989, 1 videodisc (107 min.).  Teacher Ben du Toit sees himself as a caring and just person. When his gardener's son is beaten up by police at a demonstration by black children, he sees that society is built on a foundation of prejudice. SOUTH AFRICA.  DVD 4788 

Forgiveness. 2004, 1 videodisc (113 min.).  A white former South African policeman who tortured and killed a black anti-apartheid activists seeks forgiveness from the victim's family. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 4930 and Streaming video.

The forgotten kingdom. 2013, 1 videodisc (97 min.).  A heavy burden compels Atang to leave the bustle of Johannesburg, he must return to his ancestral land of Lesotho to bury his estranged father in the remote, mountainous village where he was born. Once there, complications delay his ultimate departure, including reunion with a childhood friend who's blossomed into a beautiful schoolteacher. A playful meditation on the value of hardship and the mystical beauty of a land and its people. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 11546.

Gangster's paradise: Jerusalema. 2008, 1 videodisc (119 min.).  Starting off with simple smash and grabs, Lucky Kunene quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon Lucky realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big and escaping from the slums to a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune, hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants and holding their rent hostage from the landowners. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 9328 

Last grave at Dimbaza. 1973. 1 streaming video file (53 min.).   Shot illegally in the Republic of South Africa, this documentary exposes the oppression of Blacks and other people designated as colored under apartheid rule in South Africa. SOUTH AFRICA. Streaming video. 

Life, above all. 2010, 2 videodiscs (approximately 106 min.). Twelve-year-old Chanda learns of a rumor that has spread through her village near Johannesburg and forced her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school to find her mother and discover the truth. SOUTH AFRICA / GERMANY.  DVD 10094.

Mandela, long walk to freedom. 2013, 2 videodiscs (approximately 141 minutes).  Based on South African President Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name, it chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country's once segregated society. UNITED KINGDOM / SOUTH AFRICA / FRANCE.  DVD 11471.

Mapantsula. 1988, 1 videodisc, 1 streaming video file (100 min.). The library of African cinema. Panic is a "mapantsula," a Zulu term for a petty crook. Set in South Africa, he is imprisoned with Anti-apartheid activists. There he is transformed into a man willing to become involved with social change. SOUTH AFRICA / UNITED KINGDOM. DVD 1976. Streaming video.

Master Harold and the boys. 2010, 1 videodisc (90 min.). Set in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in 1950, on a small family-owned tea room, this critically-acclaimed adaptation of the noted Broadway play deals with the special relationship between Hally ("Master Harold"), and two black men, Willie and Sam, who work for Hally's family ("the boys"). Hally learns that his crippled, alcoholic father is about to be released from the hospital. Anxious, Hally turns vicious toward Willie and Sam and vents his anger and frustration on his friends in previously hidden racism. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 9535.

'Nagstappie A walk in the night. 2000, 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (78 min.).  The library of African cinema. Recounts a single terrible night during which the fragile world of Mikey Adonis, a young black steel worker in South Africa, disintegrates. As the pressures on Mikey build, we see a decent man driven to an act of brutality by a racist society which humiliates him at every turn. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 10017 and streaming video.

Sarafina! 1992, 1 videodisc (98 min.).  Miramax classics. Sarafina is a schoolgirl at school in Soweto, South Africa. She learns only the history of the whites in South Africa but her history teacher (Goldberg) secretly teaches the students to be proud of their heritage and make a stand against apartheid. The film features beautiful South African music, choirs and percussion. SOUTH AFRICA / UK / FRANCE /USA.  DVD 8496.

Skin. 2008. 1 videodisc (102 min.).  Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 7137.

Son of man. 2006, 1 videodisc (91 min.).  In the state of Judea in southern Africa, violence, poverty, and sectarianism are endemic. The neighboring alliance has invaded under the pretense of restoring peace. As the civil war reaches new heights, a divine child is born to a lowly couple. As he grows and witnesses the inhumanity of the world, he is offered an escape to the heavens. He refuses. He must try to save the world from evil men. A powerful retelling of the life of Christ set in contemporary South Africa. SOUTH AFRICA DVD 2674 and Streaming video.

Tsotsi = Thug. 2005, 1 videodisc (ca. 94 min.).  Tsotsi - a nickname meaning thug - is a young man running with a criminal gang on the streets of Johannesburg. He is immersed in a world of violence that seems to leave him unaffected, until he discovers an infant in the backseat of a car he has stolen. SOUTH AFRICA. UK. DVD 2154.

Wrong side of the bus. 2009. 1 videodisc (56 min.).  "Sidney Bloch, an internationally recognized professor of psychiatry from Australia, returns to Cape Town, South Africa for his medical school reunion. Sid has suffered from a troubled conscience for forty years and wants to resolve his guilt for colluding with Apartheid, but what will it take to free him from his past? He's accompanied on his quest for reconciliation by his son Aaron, who is also his harshest critic"--Container. South Africa. DVD 9170 and Streaming video.

Yesterday. 2004. 1 videodisc (ca. 95 min.).  After falling ill, Yesterday learns that she is HIV positive. With her husband in denial and a young daughter to tend to, Yesterday's one goal is to live long enough to see her child go to school. Set against the awesome, harsh landscapes of South Africa. SOUTH AFRICA. DVD 2166.