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Image courtesy of Showmax.

‘Joko ya Hao’ is Not Your Typical Apartheid Film

South African filmmaker Mmabatho Montsho doesn't rely on the politics of her new film to carry it along, but instead imposes her authorial voice on a tribute to Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

The defining flaw of the post-94 apartheid film is always its focus on the macro—the issues, the big political figureheads and so forth. The recently released short film Joko ya Hao (currently streaming on Showmax) signifies a continued stepping away from this conventional wisdom towards a more nuanced history from below.

Filmmaker Mmabatho Montsho does not linger on black pain, towering over it pornographically on Joho ya Hao. Instead, she zooms in; we see crying eyes and an attempt to wash hands red with blood. The objective is not to generate mere anger at the political moment as most films tend to do, but to do the more challenging work of making the viewer intimately aware of its human costs.

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