The introduction of the black cinema industry during the 1920s to 1970s had been resulted by multiple of various factors, such as resentment and censorship act. After the apartheid government passed on the censorship act which made special provision of films that non-European (blacks, coloureds and Indians) should not be permitted to watch films however this resulted into resentment. The resentment would result into many separate cinemas built for non-European. The black cinema began with the aid of the government subsidies.
The cinema had three typologies namely: Black to homelands, Coopted films and The conditional urban films. This essay will discuss the workings and the experiences of the black cinema film industry during the apartheid era with reference to Hegemony, National film subsidy scheme, sol plaatjie and back to the homelands films.
The white people were the dominant group during the apartheid era, this made other ethnic groups to feel inferior in the society. This was always seen as hegemony, other groups who were called non-European.
The non-Europeans especially the blacks were treated badly. To make matters worse black people were made no longer watch the films with white people after the censorship act was passed by the apartheid government. Their atmosphere in the cinema was electrifying as they were often expressing their excitement. The national film subsidy scheme was a scheme to develop the south African film industry by providing the films financially, but its main aim was to bolster the Afrikaans filmmaking. It would later introduce the subsidy scheme for black filmmakers named the B-scheme.
According to Botha (2012: 115) attempts were made in the 1970s to cultivate a black-themed cinema designed for black audience, but with dismal result. The films were produced and directed by white filmmakers who had little knowledge about the culture of the black people. According to Botha (2012: 115) many of the white filmmakers had to rely on their black actors in order to translate their own dialogues. The films would not be aided much as of those of the Afrikaans.
A black intellectual by the name of sol plaatjie who was journalist in a newspaper called kuranta e Bechuanaland and the first general secretary of the ANC. Sol played a huge role in the black cinematic films, by his bioscope to the bantu states villages. According to Balseiro and Masilela (2003:19) sol introduced two incentives with his bioscope, his films were for entertainment and could not restrict the audiences even prominent European also attended. The films were also cheap and this made it easier to attract lot of audiences as the black people were able to pay the tickets in the theatres. Back to the Homelands films were mainly made for the black audiences back in the villages. The films were made by white-owned films companies that dominated the south African film industry and they were also funded by white financiers. They represented a symbol of African cultures. Paleker (2010:96) states in that many of the films there were many cultural activities done such as sangomas, muti and cultural fights. The films were no funded with more money as the state wanted to bolster the Afrikaans filmmakers in order to promote their apartheid ideology. Some the filmmakers who opposed the government used this opportunity to make films that were critical to the apartheid.
The subsidy scheme was introduced in South Africa in 1956 consisting of the hegemonic ways of apartheid society. The subsidy scheme was money given by the government to the small business in South Africa, in order to keep the film production processing. South African films were being able to eliminate some of the risk of mixed with film production, Therefore the subsidy scheme was introduced by Bladon Pleake (huns die skipper,1953) and motion picture was established by the time.South Africa was unable to process at the film industry but likely the government had to show support and South African film industry survived, the film production survived because the apartheid government supported the Afrikaans language in order for it to be the highest in terms of film production. The Afrikaans language films had 188 and English had 117. Subsidy caused division in terms of language mainly in Afrikaans and English.
By 1980s cinemas were dominant including in the townships (Gutsche 1972: no page). Hegemony took part in the workings during 1920s. Hegemony is the group that has more power over another, that is supported by ideas and legitimate norms. During the 1920s and the 1930s in South Africa the hegemonic groups were the British and the Afrikaner, this shows that they were in a ruling power and in control of the government. According to Le Roux and Fourie (1982: 20ff) the domestic film industry in south Africa dropped to zero production during the period of 1920s to 1930s. South African cinemas were controlled by the ruling class which was the Afrikaners and non-Europeans were not allowed to preview the films with the whites.
By boycotting the rule you would get arrested. The man himself Grutsche played an outstanding role in shaping South Africa film industry that favoured Afrikaner nationalism in 1920s, he then produced films like Nasie bou koers’ (1938) and was a founder of amateur.In a nutshell, however hegemony took place oppressing black cinema, South Africa later became a democratic country. In that case no restrictions such as non-Europeans are taking place and the impact of Sol plaatjie, Back to the homeland film and the National subsidy scheme had a greater Impact in fighting against apartheid.
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