The Digitally-Enhanced Director’s Cut of South Africa’s number one musical film, Sarafina! was launched tonight at a glitzy gala premiere at the Southgate Mall, outside Soweto. The event, co-hosted by Videovision Entertainment and Ster Kinekor was attended by a host of local celebrities and dignitaries among whom were Tsotsi’s Terry Pheto; Guest of Honour, Minister in the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad; a delegation from the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by its Minister of Information, Khieh Kanharith, the official spokesman for India’s Congress Party, Mr Rajiv Shukla and CEO of Ster Kinekor, Fiaz Mahomed. Also present were Producer, Anant Singh, Director, Darrell James Roodt, and members of the cast of the film including Leleti Khumalo, Dumisani Dlamini and Somizi Mhlongo. The premiere had a record attendance with three cinemas being filled to capacity.
Sarafina!, which was inspired by the events of the Soweto Uprising of 16 June 1976 will be released across South Africa on Thursday this week, the day before the country commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the Uprising.
Speaking at the premiere, Minister Pahad said, “The release of Sarafina! to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of the Soweto Uprising is appropriate for a number of reasons, the most important being that as we go forward in time, there is less and less understanding of our history and less and less understanding of the enormous sacrifices that had to be made by so many of our people so that we could live in a liberated and democratic South Africa. The film helps raise the level of understanding and consciousness of our people of some parts of our struggle in a very unique and entertaining manner – through song and dance. I am sure that as you watch the film, you too will feel like dancing and if you do, please get up and dance.”
Leleti Khumali & Minister Essop Pahad
Producer, Anant Singh commented, “We shot the film not far away from here in Soweto. The film tells a powerful story that is based on the 1976 Soweto Uprising, in a very entertaining and engaging manner. We are delighted to be bringing the film in the new digital sound format to a whole new generation of South Africans. We are honoured that the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Minister of Information has requested to screen Sarafina! in his country which also had a turbulent and violent past. Sarafina! will be released at 41 cinemas across South Africa on Thursday, 15 June.”
Singh also announced that schools qualify for special discounts for group bookings from the week beginning 19 June for the morning and noon shows only. Schools are urged to contact cinemas playing Sarafina! to make arrangements.
Sarafina! which was created by acclaimed playwright, Mbongeni Ngema, is directed by Darrell James Roodt and stars Leleti Khumalo, Mbongeni Ngema, John Kani, Robert Whitehead and Miriam Makeba with Oscar winner, Whoopi Goldberg. The film was the first South African film to be featured in the Official Selection of the Cannes International Film Festival and was also acquired for distribution in the United States by the Walt Disney Company.
Sarafina! is a Videovision Entertainment release through United International Pictures (South Africa) with the support of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).