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South Africa – The Land of Hope1913 – 2010 (Episode 3)

Who owns the land? This question is dealt with in Part 3 of this documentary. In the early 20th century, the Union of South Africa was still young. But it was the disenfranchised Blacks who had ended up with the short end of the stick in the struggle for land and power. The Whites – Boers and Britons – had simply divided up the land among themselves. The ANC started their – initially non-violent – resistance. Their idol and model was Mahatma Gandhi. When World War II broke out in Europe, many of the Boers sympathized with the German National Socialists. Tensions grew. In the 1948 general elections, the National Party won the race by a razor-thin margin. Apartheid became the law of the land. Witnesses, including the daughter of a famous White resistance fighter, recount their lives under the new regime and key steps in the struggle against apartheid.

A former colleague of singer Miriam Makeba recalls Sophiatown, a lively, culturally diverse quarter with legendary jazz and dance pubs, a vibrant Johannesburg neighbourhood that was brutally razed to the ground.
Five elderly women revisit the Cape Town neighbourhood from which they had been expelled – an area in the middle of the city that had been declared “White”, and yet has not been settled to this very day. The women, however, now have to live in a township fifteen kilometres outside of Cape Town. They show us the deplorable living conditions in these artificial Black settlements, and they frankly tell us moving stories out of their lives.

A fellow inmate of Nelson Mandela’s and Walter Sisulu’s explains the painful routine of prison life on Robben Island. Today, Professor Neville Alexander, Ph.D., teaches at the University of Cape Town.
The documentary contains file footage, some of which has never been shown before. Dedicated individuals have generously shared their private films and photos with us. And after many years, we were the first camera crew permitted to film on Robben Island, which allows us to tell the story of South Africa as close up as possible.


1 × 50′
Produced by
Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion GmbH in co-production with WDR, Arte and SWR
Year of Production
Original language
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