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Description of Film:   Darrell Roodt, who was born in South Africa in 1963, directs this passionate musical film. Sarafina shares the story of the struggle against Apartheid (racism) faced by a group of particularly courageous school children in South Africa. During the 1976 State of Emergency, students were being massacred by government troops. A young Leleti Khumalo (Hotel Rwanda) takes on the role of Sarafina, a young, ambitious, school girl who is vehemently opposed to Apartheid and willing to risk everything to fight it. She is aided by her equally ambitious school teacher, Mary Masembuku (Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act). After the children’s beloved teacher is taken away by the South African authorities and Sarafina‘s future boyfriend is slaughtered during a protest, the children rise up and take action. Sarafina must make a choice to fight with violence against the government or resist with peace. Sarafina’s choice leads to her imprisonment, torture, and a narrow escape from death. It the end, she realizes the cost of equality and the price paid by her hero, Nelson Mandella, when he fought for the people of South Africa. 

Sarafina originally was written for theater, where it earned a Tony award. This screen play is written by Mbongeni Ngema.

This movie is rated PG-13 for graphic violence questionable for children.

Why I Recommend This Film:  This film is unforgettable and powerfully charged. It makes you gape at how young racism can affect and steal lives. The music helps bring a needed calm or balance to the action-filled, and tragically victorious plot. The dancing is superb and the way the African melodies ring out is truly amazing. The film is of a very high quality. I love how well the actors portray such gripping emotions and themes.

Why This Film is Important:  Sarafina lets viewers see that racism is never bound by culture, language, or even continents. It is an evil that spans the globe. It also triggers a thought-provoking, startling, and important question: What happens when one voice has the courage to stand up against thousands, and is joined by another, and another, and another? This film inspires you to stand up for what is right. Maybe you are all it takes to make a difference! 

Favorite Quotation:  
“Freedom is coming…Tommorow! Get ready…prepare for your freedom.” (This lyric is from the song “Freedom is Coming.” This song is performed during the funeral service and provides an uplifting moment during a bleak time.)


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