Windhoek-Premiere: “Nothing but the Truth”, Sat. 30 October 2010, 19h

In the framework of the filmseries “African Perspectives”, AfricAvenir Windhoek presents the Namibian premier of John Kani’s movie “Nothing but the Truth”, a forthright indictment on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-Apartheid South Africa as well as as a poignant memoir of a fractured family trying to come to terms with the past and present. Special Guest: Ellen Namhila, author and UNAM chief librarian. Venue: Studio 77, Entrance: 20 N$.
Nothing but the truth
2008, South Africa, Orig. with Engl. Subtitles, 118 min.
directed by John Kani, featuring John Kani

Date: 30. October 2010
Time: 19h00
Venue: Studio 77, Old Breweries Complex, entrance via Garten Str.
Entrance: 20,- N$
Special Guest: Ellen Namhila, author and UNAM chief librarian
nThis movie is presented in cooperation with Studio 77, Bank Windhoek Arts Festival, the FNCC, Pro Helvetia Cape Town, WhatsOnWindhoek, & Hendrik Ehlers Consulting,

A deeply felt portrait that delicately weaves the extraordinary and the ordinary in its characters’ lives.” – New York Times

Sipho Makhaya, a skilled 63-year-old librarian denied promotion and who believes that post-apartheid freedom’s dividends have not been realized yet, prepares for the return of the ashes of his brother Themba, recently deceased while in exile in London after gaining a reputation as a hero of the anti-apartheid movement. What should be a dignified funeral soon turns into something altogether different as dark secrets from the past re-surface.
An impassioned and compelling debut feature film from award winning South African actor and writer John Kani. This gripping story is a forthright indictment on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-Apartheid South Africa, yet also serves as a poignant memoir of a fractured family trying to come to terms with the past and present.

At first Nothing but the Truth was Kani’s debut in 2002 as sole playwright and was first performed in the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The play takes place in post-apartheid South Africa specifically portraying the rift between black people who stayed in South Africa to fight apartheid, and those who left only to return when the hated regime folded. It won the 2003 Fleur du Cap Awards for best actor and best new South African play. In the same year he was also awarded a special Obie award for his extraordinary contribution to theatre in the USA.
In 2008 Nothing but the Truth was adapted for the big screen marking Kani’s directorial and screenwriting debut. The film has been widely received and scooped several awards including the coveted Silver stallion award at Pan African Film and Television awards of Ouagadougou (Fespaco).


  • 2009: Fespaco – Silver Stallion Award & Inaugural Ousmane Sembène Award for Peace
  • 2009: Milan International film festival – Best African film
  • 2009: Milan International film festival – Catholic Church peace prize
  • 2009: Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) – Best film; Best actor
  • 2009: Yaounde film festival – Best Film

nAbout the director
Dr. John Kani is known as a pioneer of theatre in South Africa and is one of the most important actors, playwright and director in the country. He is also a political activist and has been Former President Nelson Mandela’s advisor in charge of Arts and Culture in South Africa. Born in South Africa in 1943 and having grown up a township near Port Elizabeth, Dr. Kani dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But after his brother was sent to Robben Island as a political prisoner, Kani’s father feared losing another son, and would not allow him to attend University. His determination to succeed eventually led him to the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. It is there that Kani met celebrated playwright and novelist Athol Fugard. Along with other artists, the two collaborated on Master Harold…and the Boys; Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, for which Kani won a Tony award for Best Actor in 1975. Days after receiving his Tony Award, the South African government detained Kani without charge for 23 days. Several years later, Kani starred in a production of Miss Julie at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre. But moments after he gave his white co-star a kiss, half of the audience stood up and walked out. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Kani was later stabbed 11 times. Nothing but the Truth marks Kani’s debut as a director.

Kani is executive trustee of the Market Theatre Foundation, founder and director of the Market Theatre Laboratory and chairman of the National Arts Council of SA.

Kani has also received the Avanti Hall of Fame Award from the South African film, television and advertising industries, an M-Net Plum award and a Clio award in New York. Other awards include the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation Award for the year 2000 and the Olive Schreiner Prize for 2005. He was voted 51st in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town.


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