Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo reunite at ‘Sarafina!’ screening in New York

Three decades later, Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg and Anant Singh unite for a special screening on ‘Sarafina!’. Picture: Supplied

Three decades later, Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg and Anant Singh unite for a special screening on ‘Sarafina!’. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 22, 2022


It’s been 30 years since producer Anant Singh and his peers gave South Africans “Sarafina!”, a movie which millions of fans, locally and internationally, hold close to their hearts.

Back in its day, this now iconic film, which tells of a protest against making Afrikaans an official school language, also received a hearty 20-minute standing ovation at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.

Leleti Khumalo (front, centre) in ‘Sarafina!’. Picture: File.

To mark the milestone, Singh, together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the South African Consulate General New York, hosted a special screening of the pioneering film in New York on September 21.

International actress Whoopi Goldberg, who led the film 30 years ago with local veteran actress, Leleti Khumalo, reunited for the affair.

The event was also attended by Prince Albert of Monaco and original cast members such as Ntombikhona Dlamini, Nandi Ndlovu and Lindiwe Dlamini.

Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Anant Singh, Prince Albert of Monaco, Vanashree Singh, and CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang. Picture: Supplied.

A special 4K cinema screening was also held in South Africa earlier this year.

Anant Singh said “Sarafina!” holds up well 30 years after its release.

“The film is a celebration of the young women of our liberation, the mothers of the Struggle who made significant sacrifices, and our powerful legacy of activism.

“When we started the process of making the film, little did we know that by the time the film had its premiere, Madiba would be released from prison. We are very privileged that he attended the world premiere in Johannesburg three decades ago.”

Goldberg, who played Mary Masembuko, a teacher, said, “It’s great to be here. I look at Leleti, I look at Anant, and I think, wow, we did do this!

“I’m getting old and every couple of years there’s a celebration and this is a 30-year celebration. I am honoured to be alive to celebrate it.”

Talking about the relevance of “Sarafina!” in today’s world, she said, “Keep talking to the kids, because they are going to fix it, they are going make it happen, they are going to make change happen.

Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo. Picture: Supplied.

“They are not polite, they are not going to bend when they see something wrong, and that’s what happened in the film, they just got tired and said no more.”

Khumalo said: “I lived the role of ‘Sarafina’ on stage, and I am grateful to Anant for believing in me to play the role in the film. I am thrilled to be here in person to celebrate this milestone and to share this special moment with Whoopi.”