Magazine article New Internationalist

Goodbye Bafana

Magazine article New Internationalist

Goodbye Bafana

Article excerpt

Film

Goodbye Bafana

directed by BilIe August

A film taken from a book by a white guy who knew an African leader - sounds familiar? This one is far better than the Idi Amin picture, The Last King of Scotland, although once again it's a very comfortable and palatable film for Western audiences. This isn't going to challenge anyone's ideas - Amin was a monster, Nelson Mandela is a saint, and the real issues are out of shot.

It's a straightforward story, but uplifting, and often moving. James Gregory was a white South African prison warder who, brought up in rural Transkei, spoke Xhosa, as did the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and his ANC comrades. So Gregory is chosen by the intelligence service to listen in on prison conversations and censor mail of any political references. Unsurprisingly, Gregory comes to respect and admire Mandela, and his ideas start to shift. …

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