Action / Drama / Musical

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Whoopi Goldberg Photo
Whoopi Goldberg as Mary Masembuko
John Kani Photo
John Kani as School Principal
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
906.09 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S 0 / 21
1.64 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S 1 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonspinner553 / 10

"They fear you because you are the future."

An apartheid musical--adapted from a minor hit on Broadway in 1988--ostensibly directed at families (with Whoopi Goldberg's casting the commercial hook). South African students, led by headstrong teenager Sarafina, protest and riot when their beloved teacher, the politically-wise Mary Masombuka, is taken to prison over arguments implementing the West Germanic Afrikaans as the school's language. Would-be inspirational effort, a pet project for Whoopi, was shot on-location in Soweto and Johannesburg, and does a fairly interesting job mixing the harsh realities of this strife-ridden city with unabashed singing and dancing (mainly used as fantasy subtext). However, the political points are made early on in Mbongeni Ngema's and William Nicholson's screenplay, so there are no plot twists nor anywhere special the picture can go. The impetus of the material is to teach us something through the students' passionate fervor, but director Darrell Roodt can only work up a mild head of steam, falling back on that old stand-by: sermonizing. Meanwhile, Goldberg, in sedate mode as Mary, smiles serenely at the kids, nodding quietly in agreement with their protestations (she has the patience of 100 saints). Her first involvement in an early number, a musical prayer set on the school grounds, is ridiculously clumsy. The teenagers, energetic to a fault, fare somewhat better. *1/2 from ****

Reviewed by view_and_review8 / 10

Student Protest

"Sarafina!" deals with a most sensitive and tragic topic: apartheid (think Jim Crow, but more repressive). Anyone familiar with South African apartheid knows exactly how oppressive, repressive, and suppressive it was. "Sarafina!" approaches the topic a little lighter than other movies have by making it a musical.

The character Sarafina was played by Leleti Khumalo. She was a school age girl who, like many students and youth in South Africa at the time, chose to oppose the apartheid regime in her own way. She, as well as other students, were supported in their opposition by their teacher Mary Masembuko (Whoopi Goldberg).

Movies like this are difficult to watch, though, like I mentioned, this was one of the lighter apartheid movies. Still, I think movies like this are so important to watch to validate the struggle of so many Black South Africans and give it the recognition it deserves.

Reviewed by lee_eisenberg9 / 10

Hugh Masekela, RIP

In 1992, South Africa's transition away from four decades of institutionalized racism was underway, so it made sense to release a movie about apartheid. There had been a couple of movies about the topic by this point (Cry Freedom, A World Apart, A Dry White Season),but to my knowledge no famous movie had featured black South Africans as the main characters until "Sarafina!". It makes clear that the apartheid government was a militaristic, near fascist regime - sending armed guards into the schools to make sure that the black students only learn the government-approved syllabus - but also that the black majority knew that they had power in their numbers. It's got some of the most impressive music.

While Whoopi Goldberg's presence gets touted, another important cast member is singer Miriam Makeba. Makeba was one of the most famous activists in the country. Here she plays the mother of the title character, working as a domestic servant for a white family. When Sarafina goes to visit her mother, the employer casually greets her. Cordial though it may seem, it's clear that this white family will never accept Sarafina or Sarafina's mother as their equals.

We could be cynical and say that even since the end of apartheid, conditions remain the same for blacks white many of the whites still cling to racist attitudes. Even so, it's important to understand the history, especially since the apartheid government did things like send troops to Angola to back an autocrat against the country's independence movement.

And yes, the recently deceased Hugh Masekela did some of the music.

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