Some of the most famous actors of all times have come out South Africa like Charlize Theron, who was born just outside Johannesburg, Arnold Vosloo famous for his leading role in “The Mummy“ and Kandyse McClure who played in “Carrie” and later came to fame in the Galatica series on television. Not only have South African actors stormed the Hollywood scene, but the scenery of South Africa itself has starred in numerous film productions in the past 50 years.
The top 5 films made for and produced in South Africa.
#1—Cry Freedom—This is probably one of the most famous of all movies filmed in South Africa. This movie based on the best-selling novel by newspaper editor Donald Woods. The story is about the attempts he took to cover up the truth of what happened to a man named “Steven Biko”. The feature also covers the escape of Woods from the lands of apartheid. The film was nominated for 3 Oscars and numerous other awards and featured stars Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington.
#2—Sarafina–This film was first a musical in Johannesburg Market Theater. Produced by Mbongeni Ngema and she also wrote the music and eventually the book for this movie. Ultimately it went to Broadway in 1988 and onto film in 1992. The movie starred Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo, who won a Tony Award for the Broadway version. The movie based on the Soweto uprising in 1976.
#3—Tsotsi–Winner of the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this movie takes a look at the extremely harsh reality of living in the townships of Johannesburg. The book of the same name written in the 1960s, but remained unpublished for 20 years. It was almost another twenty to come to film. The novel written by South African writer Athol Fugard. The word “Tsotsi” means “thug” in township/street language.
#4—Zulu—This movie released in 1964. Zulu is rated as the 37th greatest Hollywood movie of all times by people of Total Film Magazine. United Kingdom TV viewers rate this movie #8 in the top 100 movies of all times. The feature tells the epic Battle of Rorke’s Drift which is a true story of 150 British soldiers fending off 4,000 Zulu warriors. The film starred Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins and one of his first movies to be seen in, Michael Caine. This movie shot in and around Kawzulu-Natal, and for greater effect the filming in the Drankensburg Mountains, and was made to appear next to the Natal area. There is also a prequel called “Zulu Dawn” about the Battle of Isandlwana, starring Peter O’Toole and Burt Lancaster.
#5—Invictus—The 2009 movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starred Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman is based on the John Carlin book “Playing the Enemy”. The movie involved events which happened during and before the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It shows the strife and quests by Nelson Mandela to end apartheid. The word Invictus means “undefeated” or “unconquered” and is also a title of a famous poem by William Earnest Henley.
Author Byline: Lucy Havers is now a consultant for several multinational companies operating in South Africa. Lucy has spent many months traveling around the country and has spent hundreds of nights in the Cape Town accommodation offered by her company. Part of her job is to assist organizations with good advice on places to stay.