Bhambatha recaptures struggle

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Historical documentaries are highly appreciated for two things, their accuracy in the portrayal of events in the past as well as their cinematic quality.

Bhambatha which showed on Sunday at 9pm, passes both tests .

The documentary brings the story ofBhambatha back to life.

Bhambatha is regarded by many as the beginning of the struggle against apartheid. The story of Bhambatha and his rebellion began in 1905 when colonial rulers in Natal decided to impose a poll tax of one British pound on all adult men in order to boost coffers emptied by the recently-ended Anglo-Boer War.

The story talks about the loss of culture, disintegration of the economy and resistance against an important piece of legislation in the colonial period.

It is produced by the critically-acclaimed director and producer of documentaries, Rehad Desai.

The documentary also highlights the disgruntlement shown by blacks, causing white fears to grow, with sporadic clashes between black tribes and white tax collectors in the sub-tropical forested province.

After four policemen were killed in the clashes, Bhambatha became public enemy number one. This Zulu chief of the small but influential amaZondi clan was fingered as the main culprit of the unrest.

The documentary is 75 minutes long, but because of the interesting way in which the story is told, it seems much shorter.