Cape Town: Film producer and World Economic Forum Crystal Award winner, Anant Singh, hosted the Cape Town premiere of BACK OF THE MOON tonight, with the film receiving a rousing applause from the audience. The film was dedicated the memory of struggle hero, Ahmed ‘Kathy’ Kathrada and the commemoration of his 90th birthday on 21 August. Retired Constitutional Court judge and anti-apartheid activist, Albie Sachs was the guest of honour, while special guests included the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise; Member of Parliament, Yunus Carrim; the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Prof. Klaus Schwab; and a host of delegates attending the World Economic Forum on Africa.
BACK OF THE MOON which won the Best South African Feature Film prize at the Durban International Film Festival in July, is directed by Academy Award nominee, Angus Gibson and stars Richard Lukunku, Moneoa Moshesh, Lemogang Tsipa and Thomas Gumede; produced by Desiree Markgraff and executive produced by William Kentridge and Anant Singh, all of whom were in attendance this evening.
BACK OF THE MOON is set in Sophiatown in 1958. It revolves around an intellectual but notorious gangster who, on the eve of his home being demolished by the brutal apartheid police, decides to fight them to the death. But then a gorgeous singer whom he has loved from a distance, is thrust into his orbit. On the last day of his life he finds something worth living for, but his gang, sensing his vulnerability, turns on both of them.
Sophiatown was destroyed by the apartheid regime between 1955 and 1959, and this year marks 60 years of the final destruction of this once vibrant area which was a hotbed of political activity and a melting pot of cultures.
Commenting after the premiere, Anant Singh said, “BACK OF THE MOON tells a quintessentially South African story, and the removal of black people whose freehold property in Sophiatown was forcibly was taken away from them by the apartheid regime. Angus crafted an authentic film that has captured the essence of Sophiatown which was enhanced by superb performances by the talented cast.”
Singh added, “We dedicated the film to Ahmed ‘Kathy’ Kathrada who was one of the many people who were arrested for protesting against the forced removals in Sophiatown. We are privileged to have had Albie Sachs as our guest of honour who was a close friend of Kathy’s, and to have him reflect on Kathy’s memory. We are also delighted that Prof. Schwab addressed us tonight ahead of the start of the Forum tomorrow.”
In his tribute to Kathrada, Sachs said, “The Kathy that came out (of prison) very different from the Kathy I knew. He came out with an extraordinary, almost a virtuosity of wisdom, a kindness, a thoughtfulness and a sense of humanity. He was somebody who gave us all confidence. It was marvellous to go out to Robben Island with him, because he would speak about the days there with a sense of humanity and attention to detail, a feeling for history and a sense of what it meant to be a South African, and what it meant to survive all those long, long years living on hope, living on hope externally but also on hope internally. Living in terms of the relationships that were being established by the people, creating the embryo of the new South Africa….For him idealism, passion, commitment, belief, integrity, selflessness all of these things went together. It wasn’t a choice between one or the other. His objective was to combine all of them.”
Speaking about his association with South Africa, Prof. Schwab said, “I have now had a chance to be associated with this country for thirty years, and I have to say watching your films gave me a great and genuine insight about the driving forces of this country, and we feel that what we can contribute as the World Economic Forum is to make sure that the tremendous angst that characterized this country in the past may be corrected so that the country can finally enjoy a history of democracy, economic growth and inclusion.”
BACK OF THE MOON will be released at cinemas in South African on Friday, 6 September by Videovision Entertainment through United International Pictures (Africa).