The Cradock Murders: Matthew Goniwe and the Demise of Apartheid

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The Cradock Murders: Matthew Goniwe and the Demise of Apartheid

7,999,99 TTC

Duration : 52’ & 90’, Format : 16/9, Available versions : English, French
A film by David FORBES and Michel NOLL
Production : Shadow Films, Solferino Images,
Quartier Latin Media
International distribution : ICTV

Watch on Vimeo
SKU: CradQI Categories: , ,


Late on the winter night of 27 June 1985, South Africa’s Security Forces set up a roadblock near Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape Province. Four anti-Apartheid activists, including their leader, Matthew Goniwe, a popular teacher from the small town of Cradock, were in the ambushed car. They had been secretly targeted for political assassination. The police abducted him and his companions, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli, and murdered them in cold blood. To cover their tracks, they mutilated and set fire to the bodies. The burnt remains of “the Cradock Four”, as they came to be known, were later found near the Port Elizabeth suburb of Bluewater Bay. The murders became one of Apartheid’s murkiest and most controversial episodes.

The film allows the viewer to perceive the oppressive climate of the sombre racist regime in the seventies and early eighties. It shows how the system broke the freedom, and the lives, of these four young men. Using compelling archive materials, incisive interviews and dramatic recreations, the film approaches the ideals which led Matthew and his friends to support the then-banned African National Congress (ANC). It helps the viewer evaluate the circumstances that led to the rise of opposition in the country and singles out Matthew’s contribution, which led to the creation of South Africa’s first “liberated zone”. The assassinations signalled the “Beginning of the End” of this racist Apartheid regime, and paved the way for the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first democratic president in 1994.

Additional information

Weight 80 g
Dimensions 10 x 130 x 185 mm

52 mins, 90 mins