2006-03-30 12:53


"Sophiatown" celebrates the great popular jazz music of the 1950's in South Africa; a rich tradition deserving international attention. Director Pascale Lamche, traces the music, uncovers the artists who created it and the unique culture in which it thrived, concentrated in Sophiatown, Johannesburg's own Harlem, which fuelled by liberation politics until its destruction by the Apartheid regime.

The film features Nelson Mandela and such household names from the jazz world as Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jonas Gwangwa and Caiphus Semenya.

What the critics are saying:

"Sophiatown doesn't waste its time blathering on about the evils of racism. Instead it focuses on the positive - the triumph of the will, of art, free thought and identity. It is these points that bury the hurt and leave you with hope."
- Damon Boyd,

"I like the way the film mixes music and history - and the archive is magic."
- Nick Fraser, BBC Four

"The appeal of Sophiatown lies not only in the fascinating anecdotes of these people who experienced apartheid at its worst, but also from the rousing jazz soundtrack full of toe tapping numbers which weave in and out, following the mood, which varies depending on who is telling us their tale."
- Terresa Gaffney, The Z Review

A well crafted documentary that brings the history and music of Sophiatown to vibrant life - all without resorting to a diatribe about Apartheid. Simply marvellous.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.