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African Jim

primary_youtube_id: 9ZsP88-63A0
1949
0:53:00
South Africa
South Africa’s first feature film aimed largely at a black audience, starring township musicians, and introducing the incomparable a host of contemporary musicians.
Physical formats available:
Betacam SP, 16mm
Digital formats available:
MPEG-4 AVC
Audio & visual:
Sound, Black & White

Living in a rural area of South Africa before the apartheid era, Jim leaves for Johannesburg to look for work. There, he is mugged by a gang, who leave him unconscious.

He is found by a friendly night-watchman, who looks after him and finds him a job as a waiter at the night-club where the night-watchman's daughter, Dolly, is a singer. One day, when Dolly is rehearsing, Jim joins in and sings with her. A simple story of a country lad who comes to the city to look for work, takes some knocks while adjusting to city life, but comes out on top when his singing talent is discovered. In 1949, two expatriate Britishers, producer Eric Rutherford and director Donald Swanson, made African Jim.

Using musicians from the townships (it discovered South Africa's great singing star Dolly Rathebe), the film was a sensation for black audiences, who had never before seen their own heroes on screen. Its value as a historical document cannot be overstated; these images from the past reflect a vibrant township culture that was soon to be destroyed by apartheid.

Musicians: Dolly Rathebe (Jo’burg City), Daniel Adnewmah, Sam Maile, African Inkspots (Captain Rhythm), Jazz Maniacs
Collection
African Jim
(45)
3 Tsostis peer round a corner, from the South African film, Jim Comes To Jo'burg or African Jim..
Collection of film and stills for South Africa’s first feature film aimed largely at a black audience.
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Collection
Music and Dance
(32)
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Global selection of music and dance films and titles.
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Collection
Dolly Rathebe
(34)
South African Singer Dolly Rathebe in yellow dress singing into a microphone on stage..
These images capture the visit of South African singer Dolly Rathebe to the Netherlands in 2000, alongside related items from previous decades.
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