Amandla study notes

Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony (2003)

John Voster Square:    Main Johannesburg  police station
Amandla Ngawethu:    Power to the people. Struggle slogan
Mayibuye iAfrika:         Africa will return. Struggle slogan
Comrade:                   struggle activist
Toyi toyi:                     activists communal song/dance; military meaning
AK-47:                        automatic weapon
Forced removals:        government-mandated relocation of black communities
Knob-kerrie:               traditional Zulu stick, both weapon and ceremonial
Sjambok:                    hippo-hide whip, used by SA Police
Passbook:                  government issued document that regulated movement of blacks
Radio Freedom           ANC radio illegally broadcast into South Africa
Sophiatown                Black community of Johannesburg destroyed by forced removal
Alexandra                   black township of Johannesburg

Passop Verwoerd! (Watch out Verwoerd)
Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica (liberation song? Hymn? Prayer?)
Senzeni na?
Shona malanga

Vuyisile Mini
Vusi Mahlasela
Hugh Masekela
Sophie Mgcina
Dolly Rathebe
Miriam Makeba
Abdullah Ibrahim
Sibongile Kumahlo
Duma Ka Ndlovu

Other Activists
Thandi Modise
Jeremy Cronin
Sifiso Ntuli
Ronnie Kasrils

Some quotes to watch for
Apartheid as good neighborliness:  Hendrik Verwoerd

“They create the laws, but we have to execute them”:  Abdullah Ibrahim

“Music was part of liberating ourselves”: Abdullah Ibrahim

“African people always made music”

“Songs didn’t give birth to struggle—struggle gave birth to song” followed by disagreement

“The train was South Africa’s first tragedy.” Hugh Masekela

“I was too angry to be a student”: Thandi Modise

“It’s like our young people were running straight into the sea at high speed”: Duma Ka Ndlovu


Sifiso Ntuli describes several forms of resistance to apartheid. What does he describe? How do the forms of resistance interact?

What roles did music play in the anti-Apartheid struggle?

Exile was an alternative to prison for some freedom fighters, but it was not without costs. What does this film tell you about how exile was experienced by specific individuals?

Is describing the anti-Apartheid struggle as a civil war too strong a statement?

Is authorship of a song important? Is it identifiable? Does identifying an author matter?