Blog: How I Made the Short South African Film ELEGY FOR A REVOLUTIONARY

ELEGY FOR A REVOLUTIONARY. Based on a true story. A true confession of shame.

Based on a true & personal story: ELEGY FOR A

Here is our official trailer:




As a student in South Africa, I worked for many left-wing
newspapers, where I spouted popular left-wing dogma while working on behalf of
the ANC/ARM movement. Our group was called The African Resistance Movement.
(ARM) In the ‘60’s – 80’s in South Africa, we turned to violence to oppose the
repressive Nationalist Government during the apartheid era. We dreamed that we
could help topple the apartheid regime by blasting down government
installations such as electric pylons and radio masts to show that white
resistance was alive and well in South Africa. The ANC leadership had
effectively been put away by the Rivonia trial and their armed struggle was
underground, but ARM wanted to play a part. The story inspires moral and
intellectual traditions and is different from other apartheid stories because
while it narrates a history of the white left in South Africa, it also shows
how taking sides with the oppressed blacks prevented us from acting out this
commitment. In telling the story, I want to come to terms with how we failed to
live up to our moral positions as saboteurs and revolutionaries because our commitment
did not know its own frailty. We were very young and our ideological fantasy
was split between a personal self and a political self, which made it easy for
all of us to turn against each other when we were discovered by the Security

At the core of this personal account is the one question
I still have not answered to this day: Can violence be justified as a way of
opposing tyranny?

This “confession of shame” story is 47 years in the
making. I was inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which
happened at the end of apartheid where a court-like restorative justice body
assembled in South Africa as a crucial component of the transition to full and
free democracy. Witnesses were invited to give statements about their experiences
of gross human rights violations. Some were selected for public hearings.



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