Wednesday September 27, the Gala Opening of the Montreal Black Film Festival featured Kalushi – The Story of Solomon Mahlangu directed and produced by south African film-maker Mandla Dube. Ole Gjerstad and Doug Miller reviewed the film for Amandla listeners. A must see for the history and the excellent quality of the production and acting by an all South African cast. Doug also interviewed another South African film-maker, Joseph Oesi, who read a message from his friend, Mandla Dube, at the Gala about his goals and hopes for the film.
Film storyline: Kalushi is a true story about nineteen-year-old Solomon Mahlangu, a hawker from the streets of Mamelodi—a ghetto township outside Pretoria, South Africa. He is brutally beaten by police. Following the 1976 Soweto uprisings, Kalushi exiles himself to join the liberation movement. He returns from military training in Angola en route to his mission, where his friend and comrade Mondy loses control and shoots two innocent people on Johannesburg’s Goch Street. Mondy is severely beaten and tortured; Kalushi is forced to stand trial under the common purpose doctrine. The state seeks the highest punishment from the court: death by hanging. Kalushi has his back against the wall and uses the courtroom as a final battlefield. His sacrifice immortalizes him into a hero of the struggle and an international icon of June 16, 1976.
University of Quebec in Montreal professor Dan O’Meara who personnally got to know Steve Biko, South African activist killed during the apartheid regime 40 years ago, remembers his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle.
In this second part of Amandla’s look at the life of Fidel Castro and his role on the African continent, Amandla regular Doug Miller talks to Montreal anthropologist, writer, radio broadcaster and filmmaker Ole Gjerstad who was a witness of the Cuban presence in Angola.
Gjerstad offers a rare first-hand look at the Cuban presence in Africa and how Castro contributed to the liberation struggles on the continent.
Who was Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902)? Journalist and political commentator Jooneed Khan remembers who this figure was and why his statue was removed last week in South Africa. How come the symbols of colonial rule are still there?
Mandela was the face of a movement that mobilized millions of people in South Africa and, indeed, around the world, including here in Canada. Amandla handed over the airwaves to those in Montréal, and across the country, who dedicated years, even decades of their lives to the anti-apartheid movement. Here are their varied and inspired stories. A fitting tribute to Madiba—from those who were in the trenches.
The 1988 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Southern Angola led to the stunning defeat of apartheid South Africa’s military supremacy in Southern Africa, paving the way for Namibian independence and accelerating the demise of apartheid. On the 25th anniversary of this key moment in history, Gwen Schulman talks to Ameth Lô of the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa on the decisive role played by Cuban forces in the battle and the ensuing changes.
In 1987/88 the battle became an important episode in the Angolan Civil War (1975 to 2002). Between 9 September and 7 October 1987, the Angolan Army (FAPLA), in an attempt to finally subdue the Angolan insurgent movement UNITA in south-eastern Angola, was decisively repelled in a series of battles at the Lomba River by the South African Army (SADF), which had once more intervened on UNITA’s behalf. With FAPLA retreating to their starting point at Cuito Cuanavale, the SADF and UNITA went on the offensive and started the siege by shelling Cuito with long-range artillery on 14 October. A major battle ensued and Angola, fearing a defeat, requested help from Cuba. With Cuban reinforcements, Cuito was held and the South African advance ended after six unsuccessful attempts to overcome the FAPLA-Cuban defences between 13 January and 23 March 1988. The SADF withdrew but continued to shell Cuito from a distance.
It has been 20 years since Chris Hani was assassinated. Gwen Schulman talks to Dan O’Meara, former long-standing member of the ANC and professor of political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), about Chris Hani’s life, his profound contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle as the leader of the South African Communist Party, high-ranking ANC official and commander of the ANC’s armed wing and the terrible impact of his killing.