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Icarus Film
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Passing the Message
A Film by Cliff Bestall & Michael Gavshon
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Black workers under South Africa's system of apartheid produce that nation's wealth, while enjoying little of it.

PASSING THE MESSAGE is a film about the struggle to organize trade unions for black majority in the face of a vast entanglement of repressive government policies.

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Three black union activists who we follow through their grassroots organizing efforts tell this story of courage and hope. Black trade unions, although legal since 1979, have had to register and operate under state control. Some unions have refused to comply. These unions have been opening a new chapter in the struggle for justice in South Africa, a chapter revealed in PASSING THE MESSAGE.

"Anyone interested in the new black trade unions must see PASSING THE MESSAGE. Far and away the best way to understand this crucial new development."—Sandy Boyer, American Committee on Africa


47 minutes / color
Copyright: 1981
Sale: $298

In theaters now!

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Civil Rights, Economics, Labor Studies, Politics, Race and Racism, South Africa

Related Titles:
A Common Purpose: The trial of the "Upington 25" in South Africa in 1986 saw twenty-five men and women from a black township tried for the murder of a local black policeman.

Last Grave at Dimbaza: Shot secretly and smuggled out of South Africa at the height of the apartheid era, this was the most widely screened and influential anti-apartheid documentary. Now restored and on DVD for the first time.

Miners Shot Down: How could 34 South African mineworkers be killed during a non-violent strike for better wages, not under apartheid, but today?

South Africa Belongs to Us: Aided by two black women journalists, the filmmakers visited workers' barracks, a family planning clinic in Soweto, and a shantytown to create the first and most stirring record of black women's lives in South Africa under apartheid.

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Last Updated August 17, 2015
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