German Premiere: „The Cradock Four“ by David Forbes, 11.04.2013, 20h00, Hackesche Höfe Kino

On Thursday, 11th April 2013 at 8 p.m. AfricAvenir presents the German Premiere of the South African documentary "The Cradock Four" with Director David Forbes in attendance. “The Cradock Four” reconstructs the story of one of Apartheid’s murkiest and most controversial episodes – the targeted killing of one of the leading figures of Eastern Cape anti-Apartheid resistance Matthew Goniwe and three comrades. The film shows the oppressive climate of the sombre racist regime in the seventies and early eighties. Using compelling archive, interviews and dramatic recreations, the film reveals the ideals which led Matthew Goniwe and his friends to support the liberation struggle. The assassinations signalled the “Beginning of the End” of the racist Apartheid regime. Within five years Nelson Mandela would walk free, and later lead the country to liberation in 1994. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director David Forbes and a small reception in the cinema foyer. 

This screening is organized in cooperation with and Initiative Black Germans (ISD).

Matthew Goniwe was a popular schoolteacher in a small South African rural town. His inspirational community leadership in resisting Apartheid resulted in the government secretly ordering his "permanent removal from society". 

Goniwe produced excellent results as a teacher, and he introduced discipline. He had been politicised by the death in a guerrilla skirmish of his elder brother Jacques, who had returned to fight Apartheid. Matthew had also spent four years in jail for possessing banned communist literature, feared by the regime as “the Red Danger”.

In the small farming town of Cradock, in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, Matthew turned community outrage with high rents and bad roads into an effective Cradock Residents’ Association (Cradora). But the political Security Police connived to transfer the troublesome teacher out of town. When he refused, he was fired.

This resulted in a schools boycott, which spread countrywide. Matthew was also organising for the United Democratic Front, a grouping of more than 500 organisations opposed to Apartheid, and he was working underground for both the communist party and the armed wing of the banned African National Congress.

Matthew’s contribution was to set up alternative structures in the “townships”, creating, in effect, a “liberated zone”. This was known as the “G Plan” and would become a model throughout South Africa, and help lead to the demise of Apartheid.

But the generals had decided that Matthew was too dangerous. 

Late on the winter night of 27 June 1985, South Africa’s Security Forces set up a roadblock near Port Elizabeth, and abducted Matthew and three other activists, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli. They murdered them in cold blood, then burnt the bodies. “The Cradock Four", as they came to be known, were later found near the Port Elizabeth suburb of Bluewater Bay. The murders were one of Apartheid’s murkiest and most controversial episodes. 

The film shows the oppressive climate of the sombre racist regime in the seventies and early eighties. It shows how the system broke the freedom, and the lives, of four young men. Using compelling archive, interviews and dramatic recreations, the film reveals the ideals which led Matthew and his friends to support the liberation struggle. The assassinations signalled the “Beginning of the End” of the racist Apartheid regime. Within five years Nelson Mandela would walk free, and later lead the country to liberation in 1994.

The film’s style incorporates four main visual elements: interviews, archive, dramatic recreations and lyrical visuals, woven tightly together to produce a chilling story that moves with pace. Powerful high contrast visuals, often set at night, create a real sense of the menace of Apartheid and the power arraigned against the protagonists featuring archive of Matthew Goniwe talking about Apartheid and education, and many scenes of police brutality.

It is now more than 25 years since the death of the Cradock Four. Despite two inquests and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in which the murderers were denied amnesty, no-one has yet been prosecuted.

Winner Best South African Documentary, Durban International Film Festival 2010

Press Reviews
“The death of these gallant freedom fighters marked a turning point in the history of our Struggle. No longer could the regime govern in the old way. They were the true heroes of the struggle.” – Nelson Mandela

The film brings us back to the oppressive age of the acts of violence and the impunity against which the ANC activists fought with combativeness through the united democratic front, and its civil disobedience and school protests.” Aziz Fall

“I was once again reminded of the incredible brave people that had the guts to pick a stone up against an entire armed army. I was reminded of the remarkable leaders that instigated and brilliantly orchestrated the resistance against unspeakable horrific oppression. I was reminded that we can never compare our country with any other one, as what we have today, was not an accident. It was through bravery and sacrifice that we were all freed from that madness. An extraordinary emotional film, that the film maker bring us through an insightful weave and combination of dramatized incidents along with interviews and exceptional REAL footage, that will make the hair rise on your skin.” Anita Van Hemert

Director: David Forbes
David Forbes is an award-winning South African director honed by his training as a cinematographer and his earlier work as a photographer, journalist and newspaper sub-editor. During his 30 years in the industry, he has worked in 34 countries around the world for most of the major TV stations and broadcasters, on documentaries, commercials, corporates, feature films and TV dramas. He is also a producer, writer and editor in his own right, and distributes African content to the global market through his production/distribution company, Shadow Films. 

Forbes also has been active in training for 26 years. He wrote and ran the first-ever Clapper Loader Course in South Africa in 1987. He founded The Camera Guild in 1993, helped form the PAWE TSC (trade union) as well as the South African Guild of Editors and the Art Department Guild, and was a founder of the Consultative Committee’s Training Trust Fund. Forbes helped train producers and directors for “Dramatic Encounters”, and mentored several young people doing their first steps in the film industry. He is active in the Independent Producers’ Organisation (IPO) and the Documentary Filmmakers’ Association, where he headed the Strategy and Communications section. He also sat on the Board of Sithengi in 2007/8 and now sits on the executive board of the South African Screen Federation, the policy making body of the independent film industry, where he heads up the Risk Management and Strategy portfolios. 

See more information at 

Selected Filmography:n

  • 2012: "Gun To Tape" 48 min.
  • 2010: “The Cradock Murders: Matthew Goniwe & the Demise of Apartheid” 52 min. 
  • 2010: “The Cradock Four” 92 min.
  • 1998: “The Long Tears – An Ndebele Story”, 52 min. 
  • 1996: “Darkness & Light – The art of Trevor Makhoba”, 26 min.


  • 2010:  “The Cradock Four” Winner, Best SA Documentary, Durban International Film Festival
  • 2010:  “The Cradock Four” Finalist, Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, Durban International Film Festival.
  • 2010: “The Cradock Murders – Matthew Goniwe & the Demise of Apartheid” Screened at Liege Film Festival in Belgium. Official Selection, Africa on Screen Festival in Johannesburg. 
  • 2009: “The Manuscripts of Timbuktu” winner of Walter Mosley Award (Real Life Doc Film Festival-Ghana 2009) Dir: Z Maseko, HDCam, DOP: David Forbes & N Hofmeyr
  • 2006: ”The 12 Disciples of Nelson Mandela” Independent Spirit “Truer Than Fiction” Award Nomination. DOPs: David Forbes and Jon Karvel.
  • 2005: “The 12 Disciples of Nelson Mandela” wins Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. Dir: Thomas Allen Harris, DOPs: David Forbes and Jon Karvel
  • 2003: “Tobias’s Bodies: Are we all Africans?” wins for “Creative Excellence” (Science) at US International Film and Video Festival “in recognition of outstanding audio-visual production”.
  • 2003: “AfriCan Solutions” wins 3 Chris Awards – Honorable Mention x 2 (Science & Technology) and x 1 (Social Issues) at 51st Columbus International Film & Video Festival 2003.
  • 2000: “The Long Tears – An Ndebele Story” Official Selection for competition in Astra 2000 Film Festival in Sibiu, Romania (Oct 2000), and also for the Southern African Film Festival 2000 in Harare.
  • 1996: “Business Against Crime” TVC. Special Mention at 1996 Loerie Awards
  • 1993: “Crossing the Line” (U-matic Hi-band, 25 min) Dir: Mike Rudolph, starring Sean Taylor, Jenni Steyn and Susan Coetser) 2nd prize in 1993 Weekly Mail Short Film Competition
  • 1992: “Enthombe” Hononary Mention at 8th Journees du Cinema Africain et Créole, Montreal. DOP: David Forbes
  • 1991: “Enthombe” Wins “Best Film” and 1st prize in docs at 3rd Weekly Mail Short Film Competition. DOP: David Forbes
  • 1990: “The Boxer” won “Best Documentary” at 12th DIFF. DOP: David Forbes

nThe Cradock Four
David Forbes, South Africa 2010, 93 min 

Thursday, 11.April 2013, 20h00 
Entrance 7,50 €
Discount via Berlinpass, Gildepass, Heavy User Card, Filmreihe-Pass (Further information:

Tickets and Information
030 283 46 

Hackesche Höfe Kino
Rosenthaler Str. 40/41
10178 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt
U Weinmeisterstraße

Support our Projectswith a donation to:
AfricAvenir International e.V.
Badische Beamtenbank
BLZ 66 09 08 00
Kto 00 16 72 13 03



Mit unserem Newsletter informieren wir Sie über Aktuelles zu AfricAvenir International Berlin und zu den Themen Dekolonisierung, Rassismuskritik und afrikanische Perspektiven. Tragen Sie sich hier ein und erhalten Sie zweimal pro Monat Termine, Lesetipps und andere Empfehlungen.