A young Sarafina, lives with her aunt and uncle in Soweto where she attends school while her mother works as a maid in a white household in Johannesburg. The two rarely see each other.

Sarafina battles her feelings of abandonment and disappointment with passionate hero-worship of both the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and her rebellious history teacher, Mary Masombuka. Mary encourages the children to be proud of who they are, and to be aware of the political forces that rule their lives. She even helps the pupils put on a play expressing their desire for the eventual release of Mandela.

Sarafina’s classmates get involved in a protest that ends in an arson attack, resulting in the police cracking down hard on the students. As a result, the children boycott white-owned stores, and tensions begin to rise. Even as Mary reassures Sarafina that she dreams of a free and peaceful South Africa, violence erupts throughout the township. A riot ensues when the police open fire at the school children.

Sarafina faces years of imprisonment and torture for her role in the protest. Eventually, she is released and reunited with her mother. Finally together, the two women find mutual respect for the very different ways they both struggle against the oppressive forces dominating their lives.

Leleti Khumalo Biography

Leleti was born in 1970 at Kwa Mashu Township in the North of Durban. Growing up in the poverty of township life, she was initiated into a youth backyard dance group called Amajika mentored by Tu Nokwe. In 1985, she auditioned for Mbongeni Ngema’s upcoming new musical, which was to became the international blockbuster “Sarafina!” Ngema wrote the lead character of Sarafina for her. Leleti enchanted audiences in South Africa and on Broadway, where she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress. “Sarafina!” stayed for two years on Broadway before embarking on a worldwide tour. In 1987 she received an NAACP Image Award for Best Stage Actress.

In 1991, together with Whoopi Goldberg, Khumalo starred in Darrell James Roodt’s film version of “Sarafina!” which was distributed worldwide, and became the biggest film production to be released in the African continent. Again she was nominated for the film Image Award together with Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg and Janet Jackson.

In 1993, Khumalo released her first album, “Leleti and the Sarafina,” and co-starred in Ngema’s international hit musical “Magic at 4 AM” which was dedicated to the legend of
Muhammed Ali. She then starred in Ngema’s musical “Mama” (1996), which toured Europe and Australia. In 1997, she also starred in Ngema’s “Sarafina 2.”

Khumalo moved into dramatic acting when she starred in the play “Koze Kuse,” written by Selo Make Kancube. She then played a role in Darrell James Roodt’s film “Cry, the Beloved
Country” (1995) of Alan Paton’s novel, produced by Anant Singh and starring Richard Harris and James Earl Jones. She was also featured on the TV series “The African Skies,” and appeared in a number of TV commercials.

Leleti next had another success on stage with “The Zulu” (1999) written and directed by Mbongeni Ngema, about King Cetshwayo and the Battle of Isandlwane in the Anglo Zulu War. In 2000 she was awarded an acting diploma by the Mbongeni Ngema Academy of Performance Excellence. Khumalo next starred in 2003 at the musical extravaganza “Stimela Sase Zola” at the African Bank Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 2003.

Khumalo was the lead in South Africa’s first-ever Oscar nominated film, “Yesterday” which was nominated in the Best Foreign Language film category in 2005. The film also won the
prestigious Peabody Award in 2006 and received an Emmy nomination in the same year.

Khumalo was also featured in the Oscar Nominated film, “Hotel Rwanda,” with Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte. She starred in the popular South African soap operas, “Generations” and “Uzalo” and in the feature films “Winnie Mandela”, “Cry of Love” and “Free State”.

In 2018 she made her debut as Executive Producer of the daily television drama, “Imbewu: The Seed” in which she played the lead character, MaZulu for five years on the South African free-to-air television channel,

Whoopi Goldberg Biography

Whoopi Goldberg moves effortlessly between comedy, television and feature films, first made her mark with the movie-going public as Celie in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” (1985) for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. She was born November 13, 1955 in the Chelsea projects of Manhattan. At the precocious age of eight, Caryn Elaine Johnson — her real name — was performing with the Children’s Program at the Hudson Guild Community Center and the Helena Rubinstein Children’s Theatre.

Whoopi joined the fledgling San Diego Repertory Theatre in 1974 and appeared in productions of Brecht’s Mother Courage and Marsha Norman’s Getting Out. Most importantly, her comedic skills were honed with an improv group called Spontaneous Combustion, where she paired up with Don Victor to form the comedy duo, “Victor and Goldberg.” While in San Diego, she also adopted her unique stage name, primarily because of a reputation for flatulence, she wanted to call herself “Whoopi Cushion” or “Whoopi Cushone.”

Her mother was of the opinion that no one would take her seriously as an actress, but she insisted on keeping the “Whoopi” part and her mother suggested it sounded good with “Goldberg,” so she settled on “Whoopi Goldberg.” Whoopi then joined the Blake Street Hawkeyes Theatre in Berkeley and partnered with David Schein. She developed her distinctive character monologues and created The Spook Show, which first played San Francisco and then toured the United States and Europe.

While performing Spook Show at the Dance Theatre Workshop in New York (1983), she was discovered by director Mike Nichols, who mounted her breakthrough solo Broadway production in 1984. A one-woman show of original material, written and created by Whoopi, Whoopi opened at the Lyceum Theatre to thunderous critical acclaim. Hungry audiences unable to feast on the New York show were treated to the HBO special, Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway. The record album of her Broadway show won a Grammy Award as Best Comedy Recording of the Year in 1985.

Whoopi briefly returned to San Francisco to star as the legendary Moms Mabley in Moms, a one-woman show which she also co-wrote, based on the late comedienne’s original material. The next year, she made a dazzling dramatic debut in Steven Spielberg’s film version of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, a performance that earned her the Best Actress Golden Globe, an Academy Award nomination, and the NAACP’s Image Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.

She has since appeared in a steady stream of popular motion pictures, including Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Fatal Beauty (a second NAACP Image Award), Clara’s Heart, Ghost, for which she took home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, a Golden Globe, a third Image Award, the British Academy Award, an American Comedy Award and the Saturn Award (presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films). The Long Walk Home (a fourth Image Award), Soapdish, The Player, Sister Act which garnered her yet another Golden Globe Award nomination, the NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture and the Image Award for Motion Picture of the Year, Sarafina, Made in America and Corrina, Corrina.

Whoopi still had time for TV’s Moonlighting for which she received an Emmy Award nomination as Best Guest Performer in a Dramatic Series in 1986. Whoopi starred with Jean Stapleton in CBS’ Bagdad Cafe. For five television seasons, she also managed to navigate her way across the universe as Guinan, on the hit syndicated series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Whoopi also appeared in the CBS Schoolbreak Special, “My Past Is My Own,” for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, and she starred in the CBS telefilm, Kiss Shot.

In 1991, Whoopi guest starred on the NBC series, A Different World, which resulted in another nomination for a Prime Time Emmy Award, this time as Best Guest Actress on a Comedy Series. She also starred in “Dead Wait,” an episode of HBO’s horror anthology series, Tales from the Crypt. In 1992, Whoopi made her debut as a talk show host with “The Whoopi Goldberg Show,” her own syndicated half-hour late night talk show.

In addition to the Oscar, a Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards, and multiple NAACP Image Awards, Whoopi has won a Tony for bringing Thoroughly Modern Millie to Broadway, along with the prestigious Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, six People’s Choice Awards and an unprecedented five Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards as Favorite Movie Actress. One can only wonder where she puts the many awards and honours which she has earned. Even with her hectic life, she found the time to write a children’s book, Alice, (1992) and her autobiography, Book (1997).

A champion for the homeless, children, human rights, substance abuse, gay rights, the battle against AIDS, and other worthwhile causes, Goldberg received the NAACP’s 1991 Entertainer of the Year and was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2003. In 1987, Whoopi, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams co-hosted HBO’s now-historic Comic Relief benefit for the nation’s homeless. Following the equally successful Comic Relief II, the three have hosted Comic Relief III, IV, V, VI and VII which have cumulatively raised more than $30 million.

Always there for people in need, Whoopi also participated in the televised Hurricane Relief benefit to aid victims of Hurricane Andrew. In 1999, she became one of Essence Magazine’s “Women of the Year.” Whoopi fullfilled a childhood fantasy and became part of Hollywood history in February, 1995, when prints of her hands, feet and dreadlock braids were placed in cement in the forecourt of Mann’s Chinese Theatre. She received her star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on her birthday, November 13, 2001.

No stranger to hosting, Whoopi has done the honours for the 1992 34th Annual GrammyAwards and ABC’s A Gala For the President at Ford’s Theatre in 1993 and in 1994. On March 21, 1994, Whoopi hosted The 66th Annual Academy Awards – the highest rated special of the 1993-1994 television season – for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award. That was also the first time a woman or an African-American had ever been solo host. She hosted the Academy Awards show again in 1996, 1999 and 2002. And from 1998-2002 she placed herself at the center square of a highly successful resurrected Hollywood Squares.
Whoopi has moved back to New York, where she grew up.

She extracted herself from her responsibilities with Hollywood Squares and insisted that her new NBC sitcom be filmed in New York City. She was creator, executive producer and star of her own NBC-TV show, Whoopi. On its 20th anniversary, Whoopi updated her one-woman Broadway show, returning to the Lyceum Theater for a limited engagement, again under the auspices of Mike Nichols. Because she has been getting fewer roles offered to her, she has been making development deals with USA Networks, Lifetime, and others.

Anant SIngh
Anant Singh Biography

Born and raised in apartheid South Africa in the eastern coastal city of Durban, Singh began his film career at age 18 when he left his studies at the University of Durban-Westville to purchase a 16mm movie rental store. From there, he moved into video distribution, forming Videovision Entertainment and then progressed into film production in 1986 with Place of Weeping, the first anti-apartheid film to be made entirely in South Africa.

Singh is the producer of Yesterday (from director, Darrell James Roodt), which received South Africa’s first Academy Award Nomination in the Best Foreign Language Picture category in 2005, the Peabody Award and an Emmy Nomination in 2006 in the “Outstanding Made For Television Movie” category. Anant Singh is recognised as South Africa’s pre-eminent film producer, having produced more than 100 films since 1984. He is responsible for many of the most profound anti-apartheid films made in South Africa, among which are “Place Of Weeping,” Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country.

Nelson Mandela called him “a producer I respect very much…a man of tremendous ability” when he granted him the film rights to his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. The film titled Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is directed by Justin Chadwick and stars Idris Elba as Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. The film has received wide critical acclaim internationally, and received prestigious award recognitions, including Academy Award and BAFTA nominations and a Golden Globe Award win.

A selection of his subsequent feature films includes: Sarafina! with Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Miriam Makeba; The Road to Mecca, with Kathy Bates; Father Hood, with Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry; Captives, with Julia Ormond and Tim Roth; Stephen King’s The Mangler, Cry, the Beloved Country with James Earl Jones and Richard Harris; and Red Dust, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor, a drama focussing on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The First Grader, directed by Justin Chadwick, was a hit at the Telluride, Toronto, London and Doha Film Festivals in 2010, and was released theatrically by National Geographic Films. Shepherds and Butchers which won an Audience Award at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival is directed by multi-award winner, Oliver Schmitz (Life, Above All; Paris, Je T’aime) and stars Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominee, Steve Coogan (Philomena), Andrea Riseborough (Birdman, Oblivion) and talented newcomer, Garion Dowds. Remember stars Academy Award® Winner, Christopher Plummer (‘Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo’, ‘Beginners’) and is directed by Academy Award® Nominated and Cannes Grand Prix Winner, Atom Egoyan.

The film won the Venice Film Festival’s Vittorio Veneto Award, the Cinecolor Audience Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival and the Best Original Screenplay Award from the Canadian Screen Awards. The Mexican production, Museo, executive produced by Singh is directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios and stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Leonardo Ortizgris, Alfredo Castro, Bernardo Velasco and Ilse Salas. The film won the Silver Bear prize for Best Screenplay at the 68th Berlin Film Festival. Also executive produced by Singh is the upcoming Back Of The Moon which is set in the legendary Johannesburg suburb, Sophiatown in 1958. The film revolves around Badman, a notorious gangster who, on the eve of his home being demolished by brutal apartheid police, decides to fight them to the death. It is directed by Academy Award® nominee, Angus Gibson and stars newcomers Richard Lukunku and Moneoa Moshesh.

Also executive produced by Singh are the Canadian productions, Through Black Spruce, Clara and The Song of Names. Based on a Giller Prize winning, bestselling Canadian novel by Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce is inspired by the national tragedy of hundreds of missing Indigenous women in Canada. The film is directed by Don McKellar and stars Indigenous actors Tanaya Beatty and Graham Greene. Clara is based on an original screenplay, written and directed by 21 year old Canadian, Akash Sherman and stars Troian Bellisario and Patrick Adams. The Song of Names, an emotional detective story spread over two continents and spanning half a century is directed by François Girard and stars Tim Roth and Clive Owen. The screenplay is adapted by Jeffrey Caine from Norman Lebrecht’s novel and the film is scored by Oscar winner Howard Shore.

In honour of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, Singh produced the documentary feature, Celebrating Mandela One Hundred. The film traces Mandela’s life from his roots in the rural village to becoming one of the greatest statesmen the world has ever seen, telling the story of a man who became an international icon. Among the documentary features produced by Singh are My Hunter’s Heart which explores the world’s oldest Shamanic culture and how it is now at the brink of extinction; Countdown to Freedom, about the first democratic election in South Africa, Prisoners of Hope, about a reunion on Robben Island of 1250 of its former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela, Hero For All which documents Nelson Mandela’s farewell visit to the United States as he stepped down from the South African Presidency.

Viva Madiba: A Hero For All Seasons was produced as a 90th Birthday tribute to Nelson Mandela in July 2008; Obama: People’s President, a documentary feature that explores the unique and innovative US presidential campaign mounted by Barack Obama The Journalist And The Jihadi: The Murder Of
Daniel Pearl which tracks the parallel lives of the Wall Street Journal writer and his Jihadi murderer, Omar Sheikh which was distributed by HBO. Recently completed is Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless which was produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and details the influence of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence how it inspired Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Barack Obama and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States; the Solidarity Movement in Poland; the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, as well as Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Singh was appointed to the Board of Governors for Media and Entertainment of the World Economic Forum in recognition of his expertise in the industry; he served on the board of the Los Angeles-based Artists for a New South Africa; the Nelson Mandela 46664 AIDS Awareness Initiative and served two terms on the boards of Brand South Africa and South African Tourism. He also serves on the board of the Victor Daitz Foundation, a South African charitable trust which contributes R20 million per annum to worthy causes in the KwaZulu Natal province.

In August 2016, Singh was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 129th Session of the IOC in Rio de Janeiro. Singh is currently CEO and chairman of the Videovision Entertainment Group; he chairs Cape Town Film Studios, the state-of-the-art film studio facility in Cape Town and the residential development, The Pearls of Umhlanga; co-chairs the Cape Town Metropolitan radio station, Smile 90.4FM; is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; while his current roles at the International Olympic Committee include Chair of the Communications Commission, Member of the Olympic Channel Commission, Member of the Digital and Technology Commission and Coordination for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028.

Singh was invited to be a speaker at the prestigious TedX Conference at the London Business School in April 2015 where delivered an inspiring presentation entitled, Filmmaking with a Social Conscience. Singh is a recipient of the Crystal Award of the World Economic Forum and the Lifetime Founder Member Award of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. He was also nominated for the 2006 Black Businessman Of the Year Award by the influential business magazine, Black Business Quarterly. The 2007 Palm Beach International Film Festival conferred the World Visionary Award to him for his contribution to world cinema and his production of socially conscious films.

In May 2015, the International Women’s Forum, for the first time in its history, honoured a man by bestowing Singh with their Legendary Award for his work and exemplary achievements in highlighting the role and significance of the strength of the female voice. The South African Film Industry honoured Anant Singh for his significant contribution to the advancement of the industry with the inaugural Golden Horn Lifetime Achievement Award at the first
South African Film and Television Awards in October 2006. Singh was also awarded the inaugural Simon Mabhunu Sabela Film Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 from the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission in honour of his contribution to raising the profile of the film industry in the KwaZulu-Natal province and South Africa; and the inaugural Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award from the RapidLion Film Festival in 2016.

Singh was awarded the KwaZulu Natal Top Business Personality Of The Year Award which was awarded for the first time in 2016, for his exemplary business achievement, industry influence and for being an inspiration to others. He received the USIBA Honorarium in the Audio Visual & Creative category for his role in the development of the South African Film Industry at the inaugural USIBA Creative and Cultural Industries Awards in 2018. He was also conferred with honorary doctorates by the University of Durban-Westville and the University Of Port Elizabeth, the Durban University of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

mbongeni ngema

Mbongeni Ngema was born in 1955 In Verulam, South Africa. Separated from his parents at the age of 11, he lived for a while with his extended family deep in rural Zululand, and then on his own in the ghettoes around Durban. From the age of twelve inspired by his father he taught himself to play the guitar. Hi pursuit of theatre began when he worked in a fertilizer factory where he was enlisted to play guitar accompaniment for an amateur play which a fellow-worker had written.

One of the actors fell ill and Ngema was asked to replace him. Later he joined the acting company of the country’s then major black theatre innovator and entrepreneur, Gibson Kente. Kente’s productions were famous in the black townships but virtually unheard the townships. Ngema studied Kente’s style very carefully and at the same time began to discover the classics of the theatre literature of scholars such as Stanislavsky, Peter Brooke and Grotwski.

He soon broke away from Kente’s company with a fellow actor, Percy Mtwa, to write andrehearse a play of their own, a South African treatment of the New Testament, later titled ‘Woza Albert!’ After a year and a half of this work, they auditioned the play for the producers of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, and were accepted. Barney Simon, The Market Theatre’s Artistic Director at that time, became their director. ‘Woza Albert!’ eventually toured the United States and the rest of the world and won awards internationally.

Between the legs of the tour, Ngema founded his company, Committed Artists, and began to work on his next piece, ‘Asinamali’, which he wrote and directed on his own with a company of five inexperienced young men whom he rigorously trained as actors. ‘Asinamali,’ structured around a real-life event (a critical rent strike in a black township near Durban) played at the Market Theatre, toured South Africa, and then on to the Roger Furman Theatre in New York City for its American premiere and, for his direction, Ngema was nominated for a Tony Award, the most prestigious stage award in the world.

Following ‘Asinamali’ was ‘Sarafina’ which went on to become a major international musical. Ngema composed the score for this musical with additional songs by Jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela. After an engagement at the Market Theatre, ‘Sarafina’ travelled to the Lincoln Centre and then quickly moved to Broadway where it stayed for two years before embarking on a major U.S tour. In the meantime Ngema assembled a second company in South Africa and sent them on a tour in Europe, Australia and Japan.

The Broadway production was nominated for five Tony awards and the original cast recording was nominated for a Grammy, the world’s most prestigious award in the music industry. ‘Sarafina’ also won eleven NAACP Image Awards. The film rights to ‘Sarafina’ was acquired by leading South African Film producer, Anant Sigh and was adapted into a feature film starring Leleti Khumalo, and other key members of the original company, as well as Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba and Ngema.

As a composer, Ngema’s biggest album in South Africa was ‘Stimela Sase-Zola’. He has written numerous songs, arranged for such artists as Michael Bolton on the soundtrack album for the movie ‘Sing’ and co-wrote backing vocals for one of ‘Third World’s albums. He has also co-written voices for Leleti Khumalo’s recording projects with American songwriters and producers. In 1990, Ngema’s major musical, ‘Township Fever’, about one of the largest and most effective workers’ strikes in African history, travelled from the Market Theatre to America.

Also in 1990, Ngema directed his first American work, ‘Sheila’s Day’, co-written by Duma ka Ndlovu, at America’s pre-eminent black theatre company, Crossroads Theatre. In 1994, Ngema released a song titled ‘African Solution’ which he wrote for the National Peace Committee with Mfiliseni Magubane. African Solution won gold and platinum discs. All the proceeds went to the Peace Committee to help families who were affected by violence, particularly in KwaZulu Natal. Ngema was one of the vocal arrangers for the Lion King, Disney’s animated film. Ngema received the multi-platinum award for the Lion King for sales in excess of 6 million copies; he was subsequently nominated for a Grammy award for the movie.

In 1995, Ngema wrote, composed, arranged, choreographed and directed ‘Mama’, a musical about gangsters in Soweto, which was produced by The Playhouse Company and later toured Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Again in 1995, Ngema presented ‘The Best of Mbongeni Ngema’ at The Playhouse, which was a compilation of his theatrical works. Tusk Music also released the ‘Best of Mbongeni Ngema’ on CD and video. In 1996, Ngema presented and costarred in Asinamali at The Playhouse, which won him the FNB-Vita Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1997, Ngema wrote, composed, choreographed and directed ‘Maria-Maria’. This was a smash-hit musical, which premiered in Wiesbaden in Germany, toured Germany and Austria and then opened in Durban, South Africa at The Playhouse. In the same year, 1997, Ngema was appointed to the position of visiting lecturer at the University of Zululand in the Music Department to teach his technique.

The first CD that came out of the University of Zululand’s music department was produced by Ngema at Techno Bush Recording Studios with students from the music department and Professor Xulu. Also in 1997, Ngema composed and produced his hit Solo Album “Woza My Fohloza”. A concert tour featuring this song wooed audiences in South Africa.

In 1998, Ngema was inducted in the “Walk of Fame” in front of the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Manhattan, New York City. His name has been enshrined as one of the greatest theatre writers of the century – the greatest achievement in any artist’s lifetime. ‘The Zulu’ – The Musical Production, the music CD and Cassette are amongst the latest Ngema offerings. The Zulu opened in Wiesbaden in Germany to rave reviews and standing ovations throughout the tour of Europe. It came back for a tremendous South African run at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg as well as The Playhouse in Durban in 2000.

To usher in the new millennium, the city of Durban commissioned Ngema to compose and produce the millennium celebration song and also wrote the signature tune for popular South African talkshow, Felicia on Ngema has just completed a movie script for the adaptation of, ‘Asinamali’ into a feature film. He was also appointed Artistic Director for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. In 2005, he wrote House of Shaka, a play inspired by the Biography of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, the play staged to wild acclaim by audiences in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Darrell James Roodt
DarreLl James Roodt Biography

Darrell Roodt has directed some of the most acclaimed films to come from his native South Africa, including Place of Weeping, Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country. He holds the distinction of directing South Africa’s first Oscar Nominated film, Yesterday which was nominated in the Best Foreign Language category in 2005 and which subsequently received an Emmy Nomination in 2006.

After being turned down for Drama School at the University of the Witwatersrand, Roodt secured financing and the commitment of local actors and technicians to produce South Africa’s first anti-apartheid feature film, Place of Weeping (1986). Produced by Anant Singh, the film premiered in New York to wide critical acclaim and was endorsed by the “Artists Against Apartheid” committee as a courageous indictment of the racial policies of the time.

Roodt’s next two films, City of Blood and A Tenth of a Second were followed by The Stick, an anti-war film set and subsequently banned in South Africa for two years. The Stick enjoyed a successful run on the international festival circuit and opened the 1988 Montreal Film Festival. When finally released in South Africa it was nominated for six awards in the 1989 M-net Film Awards, including Best Film.

Roodt next directed the human drama Jobman, nominated in six categories in the annual Mnet Film Awards, followed by the action thriller To The Death. Sarafina! (1992), based on Mbongeni Ngema’s award-winning Broadway stage hit, and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo and Miriam Makeba, introduced Roodt to a wider
international audience. Screened in Official Selection at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, the film was released in the U.S. by Disney, who commissioned him to direct the comedy Father Hood, starring Patrick Swayze and Halle Berry.

Roodt next adapted Alan Paton’s classic novel Cry, The Beloved Country (1995) to the screen, with an illustrious cast that included James Earl Jones, Richard Harris and Charles Dutton. Thescript was adapted by Oscar nominee Ronald Harwood and scored by five-time Oscar-winner
John Barry.

Roodt’s subsequent films include Dangerous Ground (1997), with Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley; the thriller Second Skin (2000), with Natasha Henstridge and Peter Fonda, Queens Messenger II (2001), Pavement (2002), with Robert Patrick and Lauren Holly, Sumuru (2003) and upcoming, Dracula 3000, with Casper Van Dien and Coolio. Prey which he directed and co-wrote with the writers of “Cry Wolf”, Beau Bauman and Jeff Wadlow, stars Bridget Moynahan (“I, Robot”, “The Sum Of All Fears”, “The Recruit”), Peter Weller of RoboCop fame and Carly Schroeder (“Firewall, Mean Creek”).

Roodt’s subsequent films include “Zimbabwe” (2008), “Winnie Mandela” (2011), “Little One” (2012), “The Little Kings” (2012), “Little One” (2013), “Stealing Time” (2013), “Safari” (2013), “The Lullaby” (2017), “Lake Placid: Legacy” (2018) and “The Furnace” (2019). Roodt also directed a series of Afrikaans films which include “Stilte” (2012), “Die Ballade Van Robbie de Wee” (2013), “Alles Wat Mal Is “(2014), “Seun: 81457397BG” (2014).


“Vibrant…A forceful mixture of celebration and fury…”

– New York Times

 Sarafina! Is a stirring, emotional, powerful 10…” 

 – American Movie Classics

 “A vibrant and memorable film”

 – LA Times

“A Must-See!” 

– ABC-TV, New York

“Sensational! Heartwarming! Maginificent! Unforgettable!” 

– CNBC / WCBS Radio

“…Leleti Khumalo is Tremendous on screen!” 

– Siskel & Ebert

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