Activators review Kalushi

Brian Qamata – Cape Town Activator

What I didn’t see in the movie was mostly based on the part when they went to exile, I was expecting more action. I was hoping before watching the movie that I would see more of the street violence from the police towards the blacks but that has been seen before from movies like Sarafina, but on the real, the movie was great and it covered well interpretations of the struggle.

The casting was great and I feel that the director did well by casting local actors only and giving them a shot to shine on the big screen.

Sihle Phungula – KZN Activator

Kalushi is one of many untold authentic South African stories. An emotional and moving account of our country’s dark past. When watching the movie you cannot help but put yourself within the context of those days. The question of what I, as a youth would have done in the struggle for liberation and would I be willing to sacrifice my own life for the liberation of my people. Self-less leadership and self-discipline are themes that echoed throughout this movie. It was also heart- warming to realise the pivotal role of our fellow African states in supporting and providing much refuge during those trying times. Now in 2017 we too need to support our fellow African brothers, denouncing xenophobia and also rise up to challenges faced by our communities just as the youth of 1976 did. The movie “Kalushi” showed me that we are soldiers and our mission is to drive change.

Zilungile Zimela – Eastern Cape Activator

The story line was moving in that it did a fair job in capturing the essence of the vibrant history of this country and the gripping reality of the injustices that were suffered in South Africa were brought once more to the fore. Delving deeper into the motion picture itself, I was left wanting, needing more from the scenes in exile. The rendition of reality as depicted there is a bit fictional and Western. The songs and the languages spoken were all South African, the heart and essence of the movie was largely inspired by a South Africa true story however it lacked believability in some scenes e.g. When Kalushi appeared in court for the last time to listen to his judgement, he gives a remarkably moving speech then at the end shouts “Amandla!!” and nothing happens up until his second attempt when his Indian lawyer shouts “ Awethu!!” – extremely unrealistic I found that scene to be. The mere fact that he was tried in a court where there were other Black people in an era of booming political solidarity such as that, should have seen the court shaking in its pillars from the rumbling of “Amandla, ngawethu!!!” 

Koketso Marishane-Limpopo: I didn’t feel the content was enough to conscientise people (especially youth) about who the ‘highly praised political youth activist’ was because the storyline was just not deep enough.  When the youth group decided to leave from their homes to go abroad- having crossed over to the Mozambique border illegally, the scene made it seem so easy (no fence, no big river, no challenges from the patrolling official etc).This is not the case even today.

Getting deeper: When Kalushi and friends silently adopts the kid whom they named ‘Coca-cola’: The scene is not detailed on under what grounds they decided to recruit the kid. We later experience the kid being a silent messenger for the crew but, still, under what circumstance is this kid being trusted to the level of being a messenger for a highly sought after political rival? During the day, Kalushi is reading a book whilst his friends are playing- why? Why is Kalushi carrying a book he did not bring with him into exile? Worst still, how did the group find settlement in Mozambique without induction into exile life? After all, you don’t just leave from your home country without direction and find refuge in another country not knowing what to expect.

As if these weren’t enough, the group later receives positive response from the underground ANC military which recruits young soldiers in exile- when they’re immigrated to Angola. This scene too, is not clear. How did the underground ANC soldiers know that the people writing them those letters are the real ANC people? We later see Kalushi becoming friends with the senior soldiers- which isn’t clear as to how fast was the transition between Kalushi and the senior soldiers? What kind of relationship did Kalushi have with the senior soldiers before being transported to Angola? Why is he the only person within the group having the platform to speak out? Why is he given special attention?

Kalushi and friends later return to South Africa- Soweto, using fake identities. At the border post, they manage to convince the officials that they’re visiting family, despite the fact that his image was in the media as one of the most wanted assassins in the country. This scene unfortunately, does not paint a clever picture of the South African apartheid intelligence (of which was known to be the strongest). In other words, Kalushi and friends managed to fool the national intelligence? This is, unfortunately false!

Kalushi and friends are later involved in illegal shooting: This raises the question of, in a township like Soweto, where whites hardly visited, even during days of apartheid, how was the shooting triggered because Kalushi and friends in that scene, were confronted by their fellow black Africans? Instead, Kalushi and friends are suddenly involved in an unnecessary shooting spree.

Kalushi and friends are arrested: Surprisingly, Kalushi is again the centre of attention, receiving the highest attention even from the judges. One would ask, how could a single young man cause such havoc in an intensified situation like apartheid? At the end, Kalushi says the most remarkable of things that reverberates the political economy of the country: Freedom shall prevail.

Kalushi is being portrayed as the sole master of intellectualism, bravery and heroic stature for people of his generation, which is not factually true. The ANC is being portrayed as the single most powerful political movement that worked inside out from exile, which is also not true, because other political parties were involved. So in short, there’s too much void in the movie.


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