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Film: Post-Apartheid Race Relations in 'Fanie Fourie's Lobola'

Hank Pretorius's new film about interracial relationships in South Africa Fanie Fourie's Lobola tells the story of an Afrikaans man and Zulu woman's path to love.


Get ready because this March a film is coming out that will either be an unprecedented exploration of race and love in South Africa — or a really uncomfortable and problematic cinematic representation of post-apartheid South Africa. We'll concede that it could also fall somewhere in between. Directed by Hank Pretorius and co-written by Janine Eser and Preotorius, Fanie Fourie's Lobola is an interracial love story that explores what happens when an Afrikaans man, Fanie (Eduan van Jaarsveld) and a Zulu girl, Dinkie (Zethu Dlomo) fall in love and have to work through the complicated process of lobola/lobolo (South African custom of bride price). The film is based on Nape à Motana's novel of the same name. Check out the trailer below:

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So how do we react to this trailer? Well, like we said, it could either be amazing or a really uncomfortable viewing experience. If we solely look at the data about the prevalence of interracial relationships in South Africa, — surprise, surprise — interracial marriage is extremely rare throughout the country despite a large number of mixed heritage individuals.

From the trailer, it seems like a cute-enough romantic comedy that would be fun to watch but we're also hesitant of how the film, via the genre it's embedded in, will try to rectify and smooth over these serious and deeply ingrained understandings of race and racism in the country. We get a glimpse of this in the preview when Fanie's mother says disapprovingly "It's the Africa in her blood" to which he responds, "Africa is in my blood too." Great, but it kind of makes us dread the ending where his mother gets over the fact that she's racist just in time to embrace her son's new relationship. We think most of us can agree that things don't work out that way in the real world, but nonetheless it's a romantic comedy, and nothing about romantic comedies has anything to with reality and everything to do with fantasy. So why not dream then about happy romantic endings and love in addition to the end of racism in SA?

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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