The Bloody Miracle & Forerunners

The ASC Library recently received two South African documentaries:

1994: The Bloody Miracle, directed by Meg Rickards and Bert Haitsma

Twenty years after the advent of democracy in 1994, it's hard to believe the 'Mandela miracle' nearly didn’t happen in South Africa. In an orgy of countrywide violence, some were intent on derailing the first free elections. This documentary film reveals white right wing plans for a military coup and uncovers a plot to kidnap Mandela and the new leaders-in-waiting. Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was locked in an ever more violent power struggle with Mandela's ANC. Both white Afrikaners and black Zulus wanted independence from whatever new South Africa emerged and were prepared to go to war. The filmmakers speak with eyewitnesses, survivors of massacres and bombings, and political and military leaders of the time. Among the interviewees is former South African Defence Force general Constand Viljoen, who remains one of the most respected Afrikaner leaders in the country, though he resisted the elections up until the very final weeks. Likewise, Inkatha hit squad leader Daluxolo Luthuli, who spearheaded the vast and violent campaign by the IFP against Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), almost single-handedly ended the nascent civil war by defecting to the ANC just weeks before the elections. In an exclusive interview behind bars, hit squad commander Eugene de Kock lays bare the role of the Apartheid State in undermining the transition. In rare interviews, former President F.W. De Klerk and current President Jacob Zuma answer questions about the extent of this State complicity.

Forerunners: South Africa's new middle class, directed by Simon Wood, is about the result of the twenty years of unprecedented social change since the transition of 1994. Miranda, Mpumi, Martin and Karabo live in Johannesburg and are part of the first generation of black South Africans to rise from poverty and join the country's middle class. They grapple to find peace with their personal success amidst huge inequalities within the country, and even within their own families.

On the acquisition of these two documentaries
ASC staff member Maaike Westra attended a screening of 1994: The Bloody Miracle in Stellenbosch (South Africa) and subsequently contacted filmmaker Bert Haitsma, who intervened with producer Paul Egan to kindly donate a copy of this important historical document to the ASC Library. Furthermore, he also sent us a DVD of Forerunners, a film he also produced.

The ASC Library collection contains almost 300 South African films, see here

Elvire Eijkman, 23 February 2015