by Milisuthando Bongela
A stunning mix of archives from apartheid-era South Africa, along with contemporary contemplations, sets the stage for this deeply personal and poetic exploration of race and place
2023  ·  2h8m  ·  Colombia, South Africa
About the Film

Filmmaker, writer and poet Milisuthando Bongela’s youth in South Africa was untouched by the horrors, violence, or even the presence of white occupiers to her land. At least that’s how it seemed. The Transkei, an unrecognized Black independent region established by the apartheid regime, created the illusion for Black South Africans that separate could be equal. And paradoxically for Bongela, life in The Transkei proved as idyllic as the propaganda claimed. Until it was over. The fall of apartheid ushered in a new life, one that included – for the first time – whiteness.

MILISUTHANDO is a deeply intimate portrait of past, present and future South Africa, blending poetry, film, and photography into a striking cinematic essay. Bongela explores love, friendship and belonging in a South Africa stratified by racism – proving that only if we understand its tentacles, can we begin to extricate ourselves from its clutches.

Upcoming Screenings

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Milisuthando Bongela
About the Director

Milisuthando Bongela

Milisuthando Bongela (b.1985, South Africa) is an award-winning writer, editor, cultural worker and artist. Her career began in the fashion industry but the last 15 years has seen her traverse the worlds of music, art, media and film – continually turning towards indigenous knowledge. For 3 years she was Arts Editor for the Mail & Guardian’s Friday section and was host and co-producer of the podcast Umoya: On African Spirituality with Athambile Masola. After 8 years, she has recently completed her first film, a personal essay documentary titled MILISUTHANDO which will have its world premier at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. She is an inaugural fellow of the 2020 Adobe Women at Sundance Fellowship.