Sarafina! The South African musical drama is back at Cannes Classics

The film starts as a musical comedy before taking a very political turn. Sarafina! was presented as a Special Screening in 1992, with South African apartheid and the liberation of Nelson Mandela as a backdrop. Darrell James Roodt‘s film can be rediscovered in a restored version at Cannes Classics.

It’s the story of Sarafina. Like other young students of the time, she adopted a campaign of resistance against the police presence in their schools. She imagines supporting her role model, Nelson Mandela, and finds an ally in her teacher, Mary Masembuko, who supports the students in their cause.

Screened at the Festival de Cannes in 1992, Sarafina!, an emblematic, musical and politically strong film, left an impression on audiences. Whoopi Goldberg plays Mary Masembuko, just after having starred in the now classic Sister Act. Interviewed on the Cannes beach by French television, the actress had a message of peace:

“It’s a film about love, humour, violence and non-violence, joy and hope. Every country desires that and we hope to help in the fight against apartheid in hearts and minds.”

Sarafina! would go on to enjoy worldwide box office success and contributed to awareness raising. The film found a second life when it was adapted as a Broadway musical. It can now be rediscovered in a restored version, still bearing the memory of South Africa.