Durban International Film Festival 2024 announces opening and closing films

Tara Moore’s “Legacy: The Decolonized History of South Africa” is set to be the opening film at the 45th edition. Picture: Supplied.

Tara Moore’s “Legacy: The Decolonized History of South Africa” is set to be the opening film at the 45th edition. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 3, 2024


South Africa’s longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), has announced its opening and closing films.

Opening the 45th festival is “Legacy: The Decolonized History of South Africa”, written and directed by Tara Moore.

The film’s premiere comes at the perfect time as the country celebrates 30 years of democracy and welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet in a Government of National Unity (GNU), to charter a new future for South Africa.

Moore uses her diverse background and personal experience of living between South Africa and Connecticut, as a unique vantage point to offer a perspective on her country of origin.

In a bid to come to terms with South Africa’s past she interrogates the legacy of apartheid and the persistent inequality which continues 30 years into our democracy.

The film includes interviews with cabinet ministers who served in Nelson Mandela’s cabinet including Pallo Jordan, Barbara Mazekela, Mac Maharaj, and Jay Naidoo.

Constitutional Court judge, Albie Sachs who returned to South Africa from exile in 1990 after the unbanning of the ANC, offers his razor-sharp insights into the prevailing system, and how South Africa is still haunted by the legacy of apartheid.

And in order to shed light on who is responsible for restitution and reparation, Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid, considers both the past and the present in his candid and intensely intimate knowledge of the legacy of pain.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s scandal-ridden ascent, reign, and ultimate ousting, come under sharp scrutiny in the festival’s closing film, “The Showerhead” by Craig Tanner.

Through Zapiro, the political cartoonist, and his astute insights, the film offers viewers a glimpse into the then political climate in South Africa.

Award-winning satirist, Jonathan Shapiro, known as Zapiro. Picture: Supplied.

The movie examines the limits of free speech in modern-day South Africa via the lens of Zapiro's cartoons, his unwavering resistance to attempts to suppress his creativity, and his ongoing significance.

It also looks at Zapiro’s work from his period as an anti-apartheid struggle artist to his enduring role as a progressive commentator and freedom-of-expression champion.

Andrea Voges, festival manager and head of programming, said that the 45th edition of the festival aimed to celebrate South African film and the role of filmmakers as witnesses and defenders of democracy.

“Art and culture play a critical role in strengthening South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

“Section 16 of the South African Constitution guarantees Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Creativity.

“At the Durban International Film Festival our programme affords a unique opportunity to both record and reflect on our shared histories, and allow audiences the time and space to interrogate our past with a view to building a meaningful and sustainable future”.

∎ The Durban International Film Festival will take place from July 18 to 28, at commercial venues like NuMetro Pavilion, Ster-Kinekor, Suncoast CineCentre, The Bioscope (Johannesburg) and The Labia (Cape Town). The non-commercial venues include Cap Studios, Denis Hurley, Luthuli Museum, K-Cap and Wushwini Art Centre.