Mapantsula (Hustler)

  • Mapantsula (Les Vauriens)
Genre : Drama
Type : Fiction
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 1987
Format : Feature
Running time : 105 (in minutes),277?back=/vod/films,page==3

Panic in the streets, the shantytowns, and the shopping malls of Johannesburg. Panic is a small-time gangster (a mapantsula), who keeps his nose out of politics. Politics however touches everybody on the streets of Johannesburg in 1988, as Panic discovers when he's picked up by the police for questioning. Dumped in a cell with township militants, the sort of people he most despises and fears, he is gradually politicized. Rough and ready, this immensely influential film, which was initially banned in South Africa, gets far closer to the sights, sounds, smells, and rhythms of Soweto than such high-budget, international, white-liberal conscience movies as CRY FREEDOM and A WORLD APART.

Mapantsula was the first anti-apartheid feature film by, for and about black South Africans. Filmed inside Soweto, scored to the urban beat of "Township Jive," it has been called a South African The Harder They Come. Mapantsula tells the story of Panic, a petty gangster who inevitably becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and has to choose between individual gain and a united stand against the system. This film will give viewers an insider's tour of township life and a foretaste of the vibrant popular cinema promised by the new, democratic South Africa.

Mapantsula was financed and filmed in South Africa, where it gained its widest distribution. Thomas Mogotlane stars as a black small-time thief. He spends the greater part of his life in jail, where he refuses to knuckle under to the race-motivated sadism of his white captors. The film doesn't solve much, but is good audience material, practically guaranteed to arouse anyone who's been beaten down by "the system." Mapantsula was lensed in a saturated European process known as Agfacolor. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Genre: Drama
Movie Type: Message Movie, Crime Drama
Themes: Race Relations, Totalitarian States, Fighting the System

Director: Oliver Schmitz

Main Cast: Thomas Mogotlane, Marcel Van Heerden, Thembi Mtshali, Dolly Rathebe, Peter Sephuma

Release Year: 1989
Country: ZA/UK/AU
Run Time: 105 minutes
Language: Zulu and Sotho

Thomas Mogotlane - Panic
Marcel Van Heerden - Stander
Thembi Mtshali - Pat
Dolly Rathebe - Ma Mobise
Peter Sephuma - Duma
Eugene Majola - Sam

Thomas Mogotlane - Director (uncredited)- Screenwriter;
Oliver Schmitz - Director - Screenwriter;
Mark Baard - Editor;
David Hannay - Executive Producer;
Robyn Hofmmeyrr - Art Director;
Max Montocchio - Producer;
Keith Rosenbaum - Executive Producer;
The Ouens - Composer (Music Score);
Rod Stewart - Cinematographer

2011 - Anthology Film Archives (New York) - April 2011


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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