Post-apartheid cinema: a thematic and aesthetic exploration of selected short and feature films

Martin P. Botha



The revival in short filmmaking in post-apartheid cinema has thus far received little attention by academic scholars. The article is an attempt to describe, contextualise and analyse the highlights of South African short filmmaking by focusing on thematic and aesthetic developments in post-apartheid cinema. Hundreds of short fiction and nonfiction films have been made in South Africa since 1980. The themes of most of these films were initially limited to anti-apartheid texts, which were instruments in the anti-apartheid struggle. During the late 1980s and early 1990s short filmmakers have also explored themes other than apartheid, for example equal rights for gay and lesbian South Africans. Many short filmmakers have since 1994 experimented with form and aesthetics, as well as various narrative structures, including oral storytelling. Future studies of post-apartheid cinema need to take the revival of short filmmaking in South Africa into account. Exciting directorial voices (male or female, gay or heterosexual, and from various language groups) such as Garth Meyer, Dumisani Phakhati, Willem Grobler, Teboho Mahlatsi, Justin Puren, Inger Smith, Johan Nel, Nina Mnaya and John Warner hold immense promise for future feature filmmaking in post-apartheid South Africa.


Post-apartheid Cinema; Short Filmmaking; Aesthetics; Anti-apartheid Texts; Oral Storytelling; Marginalised Communities


Copyright (c) 2011 Martin P. Botha

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