South African cinema beyond apartheid: Affirmative action in distribution and storytelling

A. Shepperson, K. G. Tomaselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We explore the cultural relation between ethico-political and socio-political trends in civil society. This will form the basis upon which to assess the potential for democratic transformation in South Africa's cinema sector. The emergence of the broader African film tradition is included in these developments. We show how these trends have forged some openings organisations have exploited to make broader African cinema available to communities which previously did not constitute a formal 'audience'. In addition, African cinema has been deployed in proposals that aim to couple the spread of conventional literacy with an introduction to visual literacy. Our cultural-political approach to the study of social transformation is based in the emerging post-marxist radical tradition. We elaborate the links between the general notion of cinema (or film) culture and the more localized trends in the South African experience. Finally, we assess the various transitional interventions and developments that have taken place since 1990. We conclude that the potential for a pluralistic combination of aesthetic, commercial, educational and cultural cinematic experiences is largely in place. We argue that a policy of cultural development acknowledging the ethical and social tensions of cultural experience assists people to establish and entrench this pluralistic cinema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-343
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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