Mama Awethu!

Director: Bethany Yarrow

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


The word awethu means "to the people" In Mama Awethu!, first-time filmmaker Bethany Yarrow brings us to the townships of Cape Town, South Africa, to observe the "mamas to the people: the remarkable women who continue to struggle in the day-to-day life of apartheid, As women in South Africa have rarely held leadership positions, we have only seen men interviewed, and therefore It has only been men we've heard. But there is more to the story than men.

During the years of pain and hardship, the husbands and sons of mothers have been systematically detained, shot and sent into exile. The mothers have held families together and taught their children to be revolutionaries This "politicization" of the home is the subject of Mama Awethu! in which we meet five African women, politically driven in varying degrees, but all committed to the struggle for freedom.

Although the film is stylistically strong, the undeniable power of Yarrow's work lies in the footage She has captured some of the most remarkable images ever to come out of South Africa Our news reports have consistently shown us the most carnal aspects of the crisis, yet there is a continuity of human and social interaction that exists in the dally lives of these people Images such as cardboard homes burning silently in the night with no help in sight, or a woman treating a child's head wound without painkillers or proper bandages give us an astoundingly personal insight into the situation. As Yarrow explains, "There is an expression that when you face an African woman, you have struck a rock, But the rock has a voice that is surprised at its own strength and eloquence, So it is the mamas and daughters who have lent me their words for this film"

Saturday Jan 22 4:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Monday Jan 24 10:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Wednesday Jan 26 4:40 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III

Saturday Jan 29 10;00 am
Egyptian Theater


— Catherine Schulman

Screening Details

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