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Punk music rocks political change in Africa 0


Punk in Africa follows punk in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and is a co-production between SAFTA-awarded Johannesburg company Meerkat Media and Prague-based producers Peligroso Productions and Bohemian Lion.


It is directed by Keith Jones and Deon Maas and produced by Jefe Brown. Bill Botes and David Chislett are associate producers.

Jones explains that the film traces the untold story of punk in Africa, from its roots in the underground rock music of 1970s Johannesburg. “The first multi-racial bands were formed in the wake of the Soweto uprisings of 1976, while the militant anti-apartheid hardcore post-punk bands of the 1980s gave rise to the celebratory African-inspired ‘ska’ bands that sprang up from Cape Town to Maputo in the democratic era of the 1990s.

“Today an emerging generation of bands continue to draw on this legacy to confront the political challenges of contemporary Zimbabwe and the uncertain issues of identity of the Afrikaans minority in South Africa.”

Jones and Maas (the latter grew up during the emergence of the punk rock scene) met at a mutual friend’s wedding in Zimbabwe and immediately hit it off due to their shared passion for politics and music.

“Deon and I spoke about examining the whole protest rock scene and the role it played in the anti-apartheid movement, but that was just too wide a subject,” notes Jones. “We then narrowed it down to punk, wrote a treatment and approached the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) for seed funding.

Even though the title Punk in Africa immediately hit a note, especially in Europe, it was only after a prolonged period that we managed to raise the money required to release the NFVF funds. The film was mainly financed by us, with a lot of ‘in kind’ services provided along the way by like-minded professionals who shared our vision.”


Maas states that right from the start they were both inspired to tell this story. “We initially started with the creative aspects and then did extensive research before we went looking for money. From the outset the idea was to make a film that is not the usual made-for-television 48-minute format or just an assembly of interviews.

We wanted to make a compelling feature-length film based on actual human stories. Keith and I directed the film simultaneously. We would discuss shots beforehand, plot our ideas and then make suggestions to each other on set about which direction to take.”

The look and style of the film was important to the directors. Says Maas: “We wanted to combine aspects of both African and punk styles and to explore the various graphic elements present in the punk scene throughout different eras. Keith and I shot primarily on a Panasonic VariCam P2 HD camera. The decision to shoot full HD was for business and marketing reasons.”

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By Karen Van SchalkwykScreen Africa

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi