These stories either united or threatened to divide us as a country. And now they’ve gone on to inspire and inform us in the shape of these thought-provoking documentaries that teach us a thing or two about how resilient South Africans are, even in the midst of a storm.
Here’s our list of must-see local documentaries, now streaming on Showmax.
1. How to Steal a Country (2019)
A compelling look into how investigative journalists uncovered the corruption scandal surrounding Jacob Zuma and how his response was to brush the accusations off as fake news.
A parent’s worst nightmare is the death of their child, topped with the realisation that their child was murdered. Stealing Sunflowers follows the case of 16-year-old Mathomola Moshoeu, whose untimely passing led to the violent outbursts of angered community members in the town of Coligny.
This documentary traces our Wayde’s life story, from his humble beginnings as a shy young boy from Cape Town with dreams of becoming an Olympic champion, to becoming one of South Africa’s most revered athletes and gold medalist.
The Wayde van Niekerk Story serves as a reminder that when determination, hard work and opportunity meet, dreams of becoming a world champion can easily become a reality.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, nearing the end of her role, faced the tumultuous challenge of exposing corruption in the presidency in South Africa. Her battle may have been challenging, but she handled the task at hand with vigour and courage. This documentary reminds us how proud we should be to call her one of our own.
Rehad Desai’s unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement that burst onto the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education. The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist.
Zelda la Grange, Madiba’s personal assistant for nearly 20 years, shares incredible stories in this new six-part documentary series Madiba: ‘n Uitsonderlike Roeping. Zelda goes in search of the moments that made Madiba the man he was: from a modest upbringing in a rural community, he became one of the greatest leaders of our time.
As a bonus Pan-African pick, we’ve selected this stunning documentary/animation. Winner of 35 awards, including Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Liyana is a groundbreaking movie that follows the story of a young girl from eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) who attempts to rescue her twin brothers after they’re kidnapped – inspired by real-life stories.