Abdullah Ibrahim effectively communicates the central thesis of “Amandla” when he offers “The thing that saved us was the music; so the music wasn’t actually what we call liberation music, it was part of liberating ourselves. ” Essentially, Amandla uses first hand accounts of various South African citizens to explain the effectiveness and necessity of music during the period of an aggressive set of racist laws introduced in South Africa in 1948 known as Apartheid. Amandla begins with a rather grim scene of the family of Vuyisile Mini exhuming his remains from his burial site.
Mini, remembered for his terrific bass voice, was one of the leaders of the liberation movement and ultimately a martyr, as he was hanged by the South African government. Additionally, local artists also recall the period of forced relocation to a government site known as Meadowlands. The natives would use a song written by Mini, “Watch out Verwoerd” to “really make the whites mad. Verwoerd was the Prime Minister of South Africa; often referred to as the father of Apartheid. The massacre of peaceful protestors in Sharpeville is also reflected upon while juxtaposed with the beautiful melody of some of the native’s rallying for liberation.Order now
It’s made clear that Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment was a massive blow to the liberation movement, creating a “blanket fear” among those fighting so vigorously for equality. Although the movement had suffered major setbacks, music continued to provide a driving force and sense of commonality. Even when staring death in the face, those only days and weeks away from making their way to the gallows found solace in song, including Mini. The 1980’s saw a shift in the tactics of the liberation regime. The shift was one from those of unsuccessful peaceful protests to a swift and discrete militarization of South African youths.
The songs began to reflect this shift, they began to “articulate a new urgency. ” Toyi Toyi, a new type of song and dance, became a common practice while training South African youths for war. The eventual dissolution of the apartheid regime is chronicled along with Mandela’s release from imprisonment in 1990. Those that gave their life to the liberation cause are remembered and celebrated at the film’s conclusion, including Mini. The contribution that Amandla! makes to our study of World Cities cannot be understated. Paramount to gaining an understanding of cultures we’re unfamiliar of is gaining an understand of their struggle. Amandla! akes an in depth look at the apartheid system in South Africa through a unique lens that truly captures an important aspect of South African culture: music.
Although we can label maps of n and create spreadsheets of data, we can’t understand the more abstract and intangible qualities of a people without physically exposing ourselves to it. Ultimately, I think Amandla! is meant to illustrate the hardship these people overcame using song as vehicle for unity and commonality. If I were to recommend two additional films that could possibly replace Amandla! , the first film I would choose would be Invictus, which was released in 2009.
Invictus was directed by Clint Eastwood and chronicles Nelson Mandelas attempt to unite a post-apartheid South Africa by supporting a common Rugby team, the Springboks. What makes this a difficult task is the lingering tension between the races and the fact that the Springboks are a mostly white team. Additionally, I would select Catch a Fire, directed by Phillip Noyce. This film takes a realistic look at the quest for redemption of a young anti-apartheid activist after his family is tortured by the police. Ultimately Patrick, the protagonist, realizes that forgiveness is the only true way to redeem himself and his family.