Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony | 2003
Through a chronological history of the South African liberation struggle, this documentary cites examples of the way that music was used in the fight for freedom. Songs united those who were being oppressed and gave those fighting a way to express their plight. The music consoled those incarcerated, and created an effective underground form of communication inside the prisons. Nine years in the making, Amandla! was shot in South Africa and features interviews with a diverse range of individuals, who candidly share their experiences of struggle and song. The film brings dozens of freedom songs to the screen, drawing upon original recordings and thrilling, sometimes impromptu live performances by celebrated South African musicians and nonprofessionals alike. Threaded throughout the film, these rich anthems take viewers on an extraordinary journey through the spiritual and physical reality of life under apartheid. The chronicle unearths the story of an extraordinary unsung hero, composer and activist Vuyisile Mini. A courageous political leader as well as a gifted songwriter and poet, Mini quickly realized the expressive potency of song after the apartheid government came to power in 1948, depriving black South Africans of their most basic rights as citizens. Mini gave voice and hope to a powerless people with anthems like that warn his day of reckoning will come. To tell the story of this music, Amandla! turns to the people of South Africa itself. Among those featured in intimate interviews are the renowned musicians who helped expose the suffering of black South Africa to the world, including trumpeter Hugh Masekela, singer Miriam Makeba, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, singer/songwriter Vusi Mahlasela and singer Sibongile Khumalo. There are several generations of South Africans who experienced the struggle on the ground, a group that ranges from actress/singer Sophie Mgcina to freedom fighter (now Chief Director, West and Central Africa in the government's Department of Foreign Affairs) Lindiwe Zulu and activist/music producer Sifiso Ntuli.