South Africa, anti-apartheid film Catch a Fire

This video is called Catch a Fire Official Trailer #1 – Tim Robbins Movie (2006) HD.

By Joanne Laurier:

Catch a Fire, directed by Phillip Noyce; screenplay by Shawn Slovo

Shawn Slovo, daughter of Joe Slovo, the deceased leader of the South African Communist Party and founder of the armed wing of the African National Congress, was told by her father that if she were ever inclined to write about the country’s turbulent times in the 1980s she might tell the story of Patrick Chamusso.

Two weeks after Chamusso’s release from Robben Island prison in South Africa in 1993, Ms. Slovo met with the ANC fighter in Johannesburg and recorded his remembrances.

This was the genesis for the screenplay of Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce’s new movie, Catch a Fire.

Noyce is the director of a number of interesting works, such as The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence.

In Noyce’s film, Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke), who is black, works as a foreman at the Secunda oil refinery in the 1970s, a facility crucial to the apartheid government.

While international boycotts were damaging the racist regime, the film’s production notes inform us, the coal-to-oil refinery was a symbol of the wealth and relative self-sufficiency of white South Africa.

For his personal betterment and that of his family—his wife Precious (Bonnie Mbuli) and two young daughters—Chamusso avoids contact with the ANC guerillas.

As a supervisor, he tries to neutralize and diffuse the brewing discontent of the refinery workers, a service rewarded by his employers with such perks as a company bungalow and car.

Charming and affable, Patrick is beloved in his community and coaches soccer for its youth, another effort that offers an opportunity to keep the lid on social tensions.

In May 1980, the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) [“Spear of the Nation,” founded in 1961], bombs the Secunda plant in the most effective act of sabotage in the organization’s history.

In retaliation, the police under Colonel Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) arrest Chamusso, suspecting him of involvement in the attack due to his knowledge of the installation.

Protesting his innocence, Patrick is detained and tortured.

Between bouts of persecuting his prisoner, Vos makes attempts at civility, all the better to extract information concerning the racist state’s political nemesis.

Only when his wife Precious is arrested and brutalized does Patrick decide to join the rebellion against the racist regime and its fascistic guardians like Vos.

Joe Slovo: here.

Anti apartheid fighter Stella Jagger: here.

Anti apartheid fighter Raymond Mhlaba: here.

3 thoughts on “South Africa, anti-apartheid film Catch a Fire

  1. FROM … TO …

    From bravery to cowardice, so quickly
    From a force of arms, a sharp spear
    Long assegai, protective shield of tough bull hide to ‘disarmed native’
    From thick tough soles embalmed in protective sandal to soft Bata-shoed feet
    From a tough stomach interior accommodating inkobe, roast meat, umqombothi
    To runny cholera-ridden iphalitsha tummies.
    From a proud uMthwakazi past, to a grovelling contemporary farm boy, mine boy, kitchen-boy.

    I stare my fate straight in its eyes
    I toy with my new freedom of short-wave wireless
    I listen to the screech and screams and the beautiful BBC news-reader’s voice
    I hear about a crushed revolution here and a failed guerrilla intrusion there,
    I listen to the sad news of many dead ‘monkey men’
    I hear about the sad loss in combat of few brave white men.
    I strain my ears to hear that failed black uprising
    I hear the loud announcement of British bravery.

    From free men, free warrior, free suitor
    To prisoner, to captive, to colonised, to acculturated.
    From lad, regiment, maiden, lady,
    To worker, garden boy, garbage man, factory worker.
    From the king’s advisor, statesman and royalty,
    To bass boy, slave driver, sell-out, jail warder, yes-man.

    © 2006, Jerry Zondo

    © Translation: 2006, Jerry Zondo

    Poem of the Week:

    Jerry Zondo Page:


  2. World-renowned Aids activist dies

    SOUTH AFRICA: Aids activist Thembi Ngubane, whose radio diaries of her struggle against the virus won her audiences and admiration around the world, has died of tuberculosis at 24.

    Joe Richman, who produced the diaries, said Ms Ngubane had drug-resistant tuberculosis that was diagnosed too late to save her life.

    A memorial service was held today in the township of Khayelitsha outside Cape Town, where she lived with her four-year-old daughter and partner.


  3. Pingback: Thriller novels and social criticism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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