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• July 1, 2013 | This summer we are celebrating Nelson Mandela on YouTube with video excerpts from Have You Heard From Johannesburg and never before seen remembrances from our collection of activists. Visit our channel on YouTube and subscribe to be notified of new videos.
• Have You Heard From Johannesburg wins the Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking!
Have You Heard From Johannesburg is seven documentary stories, produced and directed by Connie Field, chronicling the history of the global anti-apartheid movement that took on South Africa’s entrenched apartheid regime and its international supporters who considered South Africa an ally in the Cold War.
Almost fifty years ago, South Africans began to realize that their freedom struggle had to be built in four arenas of action: mass action, underground organization, armed struggle, and international mobilization. These documentaries take viewers inside that last arena, the movement to mobilize worldwide citizen action to isolate the apartheid regime. Inspired by the courage and suffering of South Africa’s people as they fought back against the violence and oppression of racism, foreign solidarity groups, in cooperation with exiled South Africans, took up the anti-apartheid cause. Working against heavy odds, in a climate of apathy or even support for the governments of Verwoerd, Vorster and P.W. Botha, campaigners challenged their governments and powerful corporations in the West to face up to the immorality of their collaboration with apartheid.
This was not just a political battle; it was economic, cultural, moral, and spiritual. The struggle came to many surprising venues: it was waged in sports arenas and cathedrals, in embassies and corporate boardrooms, at fruit stands and beaches, at rock concerts and gas stations. Thousands died, but in the end, nonviolent pressures played a major part in the collapse of apartheid and thus in the stunning victory of democracy in South Africa.
The combined stories have a scope that is epic in both space and time, spanning most of the globe over half a century. Beginning with the very first session of the United Nations, and ending in 1990 – when, after 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, the best known leader of the African National Congress (ANC) toured the world, a free man.
Producer/Director: Connie Field
Series Editor: Gregory Scharpen
Principal Cinematography: Tom Hurwitz
Principal Historical Consultants: Dr. Gail Gerhart, Dr. Robert Edgar, Dr. Clayborne Carson, E.S. Reddy
Principal Funders: The Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The National Endowment For The Humanities
Outreach Partners: Steps International, Active Voice
"Best Documentary of 2010."
"EXEMPLARY… A TRIUMPH of maximalist filmmaking. And you won't look at your watch once. Field's nonfiction epic is a monumental chronicle not just of one nation and its hideous regime, but of the second half of the 20th century. Field's scores of interviewees – black, white, fiery, subdued, colonized, colonizing – powerfully complement the abundance of archival footage, and vice versa... deftly toggles between the macro and the micro."
– Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice
"Best Documentary of 2010."
"WELL WORTH THE COMMITMENT. This is a clear-eyed, fast-moving portrait… Every part could stand on its own, Yet the doc's real impact is cumulative."
– Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"CRITICS' PICK! One of the most notable achievements (and there are many) of this massive, ENGROSSING, AND SURPRISINGLY EXCITING work about South African apartheid is that it reminds us how recently this violent, immoral, criminal regime was in power— and of how so many world governments turned a blind eye to its brutalities."
– Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
"Like The Battle of Algiers, the 1966 film about the violent struggle against French colonial rule in Algeria, Have You Heard From Johannesburg functions almost as a manual on how to topple an unjust regime."
– Larry Rohter, The New York Times
"Mandatory viewing! Epic! Exhilarating! More compelling and instructive than any fictionalized movies on the subject. Charged by the impassioned, clear-eyed approach of its producer/director Connie Field and energized by a cast of characters… The figure who stands out as the blood, guts, and mind of the movement… is Oliver Tambo. Shown in rare interview footage, he emerges as a dynamic leader of impressive intellect and courage. (The film) demonstrates Field's talent for weaving an extraordinarily complex tapestry of historical events and international personages into a dramatic structure, complete with climax and catharsis. The number of impressive individuals that Field has assembled to flesh out this story is astounding. There is not a dull or inarticulate figure among these talking heads."
– Tony Pipolo, Artforum
"Connie Field has produced a STAGGERING, PANORAMIC FILM-HISTORY of the forces that ultimately toppled the apartheid regime in South Africa."
– Anderson Tepper, Vanity Fair
"This brilliant series, on the most important international social justice movement of the 20th century, is a landmark work of global significance."
– Professor Clayborne Carson, Stanford University