The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal launched a national screening debut of a 4K remastered version of the classic anti-apartheid movie Mapantsula as a part of the 44th Durban International Film Festival.
Mapantsula premiered recently at selected Ster-Kinekor cinemas in Durban, Cape Town and Joburg.
Mapantsula is widely considered the first true anti-apartheid film. Upon its premiere at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, it opened to massive critical acclaim and praise for its artistic value and its efforts in raising awareness of the South African liberation Struggle.
Mapantsula had a massive impact on political cinema and pop culture, bringing African cinema to the forefront of industry conversations.
The majority of the audience the movie was intended for, however, was never able to see it because it was first prohibited from being released in South Africa.
Durban Film Festival manager Andrea Voges said Mapantsula was not just a movie but a cultural touchstone that told the story of a nation’s Struggle against apartheid.
The film follows the story of Panic, a gangster who only looks out for himself until he is confronted with systematic abuse and has to decide whether or not to stand up against it and fight the system.
The lead actress in Mapantsula, Dr Thembi Mtshali-Jones, said: “This moment is full circle and emotional.
While director Oliver Schmitz added: “I am delighted that ‘Mapantsula’ is finally being seen in South Africa the way it should have been 35 years ago.
“‘Mapantsula’ was made against all odds by brave actors and a team. We celebrate and honour those who are no longer here but will never be forgotten. First and foremost, we honour Thomas Matsobane Mogotlane, Dolly Rathebe, Lloyd Lelosa, Nana Coyote Motijoane, and Mesh Mapetla. We are proud to have worked together, and we are proud of our achievement.”