IN AN unprecedented move, DStv will showcase several of the doccies shown at the 35th Durban International Film Festival (Diff) on its ED (channel 190) and GOtv (channel 65) channels this week.
The offerings vary from historical to controversial to autobiographical accounts. And the topical themes explored are bound to pique curiosity and stir healthy debate.
Tonight viewers can catch The Irresistible Rise of Moïse Katumbi. The documentary looks at his rise as one of the most powerful people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Given director Thierry Michel’s longstanding relationship with the Governor of Katanga, he was able to capture a more intimate story. The show airs at 9pm.
Coach Zoran & His African Tigers, which looks at Zoran Djordjevic’s mammoth task of finding South Sudan’s first national soccer team, airs tomorrow. While following his exploits, the documentary also looks at the country’s progress since it gained independence in July, 2011, with issues of in-fighting, an economic crisis and malaria also addressed.
Also airing tomorrow is Concerning Violence, a bold and visually-driven narrative that looks at the uprisings that led to Africa’s decolonisation. The doccie is underscored by the powerful words of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. This airs at 6pm.
Day by Day: Femi Kuti delves into how his artistic decisions – especially his haunting melodies – are inevitably intertwined with the political situation in his home country – Nigeria. This airs on Wednesday at 9pm.
A must-see on Thursday at 7.30pm is Miners Shot Down, which, through footage not seen before, tells a hard-hitting story of what happened at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana in August two years ago.
Director Rehad Desai says that he became invested in the story when he saw the shooting take place on that fateful day when 34 striking workers were killed by the SAPS.
Coming from a family that was involved in the liberation moment, Desai says: “I had a duty to those people to do justice to their side of events.”
His interactions with the strikers also saw Desai become involved in the establishment of the Marikana support campaign.
On taking up the baton to tell the other side of the story, more so with the media going on the information fed to them by the government, police and mining company channels, he says: “In the aftermath, they (the media) were dependent on official information from the police, the company and the government. They failed to investigate thoroughly what had happened. That required speaking to the miners themselves.
“The police argued that they were attacked before they opened fire.
“But during our investigation, the footage we obtained and released to the commission and local as well as international press shows a different story. It challenged the narrative by the police.”
The documentary can be rather unsettling to sensitive viewers, but the real-time footage gives the strikers’ story a voice. This award-winning documentary is definitely one to watch.
Last, but not least, the biography of Miriam Makeba airs in Mama Africa.
Executive producer Don Edkins said he was inspired to tell her story after working with South Africa’s iconic singer and anti-apartheid activist and Steps for the Future.
“She was the patron of Steps for the Future, which is a collection of doccie films about HIV/Aids by a collection of filmmakers from several different countries.
“From that point on, I got to know her well. At some point we started talking about making a film about her life. Then I started looking for partners and a director. But just before we started, she passed away. That meant that we had to change plans on how to make the film,” he shared.
“Her story is such a big story and spans over 50 years. It was really difficult to know which parts to concentrate on. We thought she could lead us through the many phases of her life and her exile.
“Eventually, the archive material started determining how we were going to make the film. We spoke to a lot of people. Obviously, her two grandchildren, Zenzi Monique Lee and Nelson Lumumba Lee, Hugh Masekela, Abigail Kubeka and Dorothy Masuka, too.”
Although it was not easy tracking down the original band members, they managed to pull it off.
Mama Africa (airing at 7.30pm) is a chronological telling of our Pata Pata queen’s journey through music and her activism during the apartheid era. It is a poignant, mesmerising and insightful tribute to her legacy.