Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Spear of the Nation: The Story of the African National Congress

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $149.00
  • Date: Copyright 1991. Released 1991.
  • Descriptors: African National Congress. South Africa - History.
  • Production Information: Live action. Color, b&w. 57 min.
  • Available from: Films for the Humanities and Sciences PO Box 2053 Princeton, NJ 08543 (800)257-5126
  • Cataloging: 306.08'968 African National Congress - History||Blacks - South Africa||South Africa - Race relations - History
  • Print Entry #: 3:1230
  • Reviewer: Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah

    With Nelson Mandela's release from jail in February 1990, many nations heard the voice of black South Africa and politically recognized the African National Congress (ANC). The history behind the ANC and its continuing struggle is depicted here.

    The origins of the ANC go back to the turn of the century as a response to white rule at the end of the Boer War. The Act of Union of 1910, the Native Land Act, the introduction of the pass system, the two world wars, the Versailles Peace Conference, the Congress of the People, the Treason trials, and the Sharpeville massacre, among others, are the focus of the first part of the video. The second part covers the struggles of the early 1960s, including the formation of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the Rivonia trial, the Soweto uprising and the concomitant violence in the black townships, the formation of the United Democratic Front, and the appeal for international economic sanctions against South Africa.

    The technical quality of the video is captivating, with historical footage covering the scenes of the struggle and the events that shaped the history of the ANC, including the efforts leading to Mandela's release. The pictures of the Soweto massacre and the portrayal of the forced separation of mothers from their children add an emotional yet truthful appeal to the program. The video provides a wealth of information and covers in great depth the history of the movement that has captivated the attention of the world.

    I would like to believe that the government of F. W. de Klerk, under whom Nelson Mandela was released, had an impact on the history of the ANC, a question viewers, especially younger ones, will be curious to ask. The role of Ian Smith and P. W. Botha in the history of the movement is covered. However, it is disappointing that the role of the present government is not even recognized. In spite of this unpardonable omission from a program released in the fall of 1991, I recommend this video for all types of libraries.

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