Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony

Lee Hirsch. | 103 minutes. Artisan Entertainment.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Amandla! is a stylish, well-researched documentary that testifies to the power of music as a tool of salvation. Through interviews with South Africa’s leading black musicians, it chronicles the importance of music in the struggle against apartheid as well as the lineage of individual songs, demonstrating how one musical idea could bring solidarity across generations and social groups: from condemned prisoners to rebel soldiers to domestic workers.

In one of Amandla!‘s most poignant segments, Sophie Mgcina launches into an impromptu rendition of “Madam Please”: “Madam, please, / Before you ask me if your children are fine, / Ask me when I last saw mine.” The scars of apartheid are everywhere in Amandla!, but for each act of injustice, a song was there to greet it. The film opens and closes with scenes from the exhumation and dignified reburial — nearly 40 years after his execution — of Vuyisile Mini, a noted protest singer and activist. In the words of one of Mini’s friends, “He went to the gallows singing.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate