Robert Mugabe, what happened?

Genre : Biography
Type : Documentary
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2011
Format : Feature

"Robert Mugabe… what happened?" is a definitive account of Mugabe's life. It dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of Zimbabwe, but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs.

A documentary by Simon Bright

South Africa, 2011, 80 min
The documentary, "Robert Mugabe... what happened?" directed by Simon Bright and produced by Michael Auret, has its World Premiere as the Opening Night film of the Encounters South Africa International Documentary Festival in Cape Town on Thursday 9 June 2011. Billed as the definitive account of Mugabe's life, it dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of the country but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs.

Bright says that this film "gives Mugabe the credit where its due. It's an exploration of what happened to a promising African leader who was well respected and it recognises his fight for freedom and against Apartheid. But it also explores the forces that caused him to effectively destroy a lot of what he built."

Robert Mugabe, Elinor Sisulu, Brian Raftopolous, David Coltart, Simba Makoni, Michael Auret, Simon Bright, Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Arthur Mutambara

Directed by
Simon Bright

Written by
Simon Bright and Ingrid Sinclair

Produced by
Michael Auret

Production: ZIMMEDIA / Spier Films

Bright and Auret were both part of activist famillies opposed to Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and white supremacy. Both families were exiled during the Rhodesaian war and returned just after Robert Mugabe had brought democracy to South Africa's pioneering neighbour.

The early promise of Mugabe's reign deteriorated and Bright was inspired to make the film after imprisonment for a short time in 2003, and so he slipped back across the border in 2007 to start research. Five years later they are finishing this eye-opening film, which contains never-seen-before archival footage.

Bright was co-producer of the 1996 Zimbabwe liberation film, "Flame", directed by his wife, Ingrid Sinclair and the first Zimbabwean film to screen at The Cannes Film Festival. Ingrid Sinclair, is a co-writer on the film "Robert Mugabe... what happened?"

Auret ran the media campaign for the National Constitutional Assembly which defeated Mugabe in the first constitutional referendum in 2000 and he went on to open the first private radio station in Zimbabwe, Capital Radio, which was later shut down and he was forced to leave the country. He currently runs Spier Films and has produced the feature films "Master Harold and the Boys" released in May 2011 and "Black Butterflies" to be released in July in South Africa. He was previously the Festival Director of Sithengi and the Cape Town World Cinema Festival between 2001 and 2007 and is married to Ulla Mahaka who was an actor in the film "Flame".

For more information:
Lesedi Rudolph
PR and media
cell: +27 76 590 0564

Joy Sapieka
Encounters Film Festival Publicist
cell: +27 73 212 5492
tel: +27 21 790 0692
fax:+ 27 21 4221842 (

Sites web

The film screens publicly in Johannesburg on Friday 10, Friday 17 and Sunday 26 June at Nu Metro Hyde Park, and in Cape Town on Monday 13 and Sunday 26 June at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront. Public premiers on 10 and 13 June will be accompanied by a Q&A with director Simon Bright.

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival
* World Premier
* Opening Night

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