Inkatha death threats over TV drama

A SOUTH African film director, a producer, six actors and their families were forced into hiding over the weekend after their lives were threatened by supporters of the conservative Inkatha Freedom Party.

This local version of the Salman Rushdie controversy followed a decision by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to ignore Inkatha pressure and broadcast on Saturday a drama called 'The Line' which deals, among other things, with political violence.

Inkatha officials had claimed that the drama, a Channel Four co-production already broadcast in Britain, insulted their Zulu supporters, blaming them for the township killings of recent years and, specifically, for massacres on commuter trains. On Thursday a spokesman for the National Hostel Residents' Association, which is closely aligned to Inkatha, phoned the South African Press Association (Sapa), warning of the consequences should the SABC go ahead and broadcast the offending programme. Phulani Mlotshwa said: 'To continue televising 'The Line' will not just perpetrate new train violence, but the lives of the producer of the series and the actors are in jeopardy . . . we would like to remove them permanently from the face of the earth.'

On Friday, Mr Mlotshwa contacted the media again, this time to say that the 'fatwa' would be imposed by special Inkatha units trained by members of Eugene Terreblanche's far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB). Then on Saturday afternoon 400 Inkatha protesters marched on the SABC to demand that the programme be withdrawn.

Brian Tilley, who wrote and directed 'The Line', told the Independent at his hiding place yesterday that the alarm bells had started to ring after the AWB factor entered the equation. 'I suddenly realised this guy was making a call to arms over the radio.'

He and producer Jeremy Nathan proceeded to lay charges of intimidation and incitement to violence against the hostel association before contacting the cast and, with assistance from the SABC, offering them the option of spending the weekend in a safe place. Ramolao Makhene was one of the six lead actors who accepted the offer. 'I was a little worried about the reactions of these people but I thought, 'Bugger it] We must tell things as they are]'

'But then on Saturday I was in town and the Inkatha marchers came straight past me. At that moment I reckoned, 'Look, I've got children and responsibility and therefore I must take heed of those threats'.'

What upset Inkatha about 'The Line' was that the story revolves around a young activist from Soweto who survives a train massacre carried out by an AK-47-wielding Inkatha hostel leader. As the sole surviving witness, he becomes a target for the Inkatha man as well as the police, who are identified as having supplied guns to the hostel-dwellers for their war against the African National Congress 'comrades'.

The significance of the drama reaches far beyond the bare bones of the plot. Eschewing the usual South African caricatures, 'The Line' dramatises the nuances of the changing social relationships between blacks and whites in recent years, conveys everyday black life with a realism rarely seen within what Mr Tilley called 'the operatic' conventions of the SABC and educates people into a rejection of violence as an instrument of political persuasion.

'The film is really, simply, about the new South Africa. It's terribly disappointing that it should be portrayed as a violent drama with political connotations.'

What Mr Tilley found encouraging, however, was the boldness of the SABC in going ahead and broadcasting his work.

Mr Makhene saw the significance of 'The Line' in broader terms. 'This film is important because it talks to people's hearts - not like Mandela and De Klerk talking all that constitutional stuff.' But was it worth the price? 'Look, I must admit that the more I think about all this, the more I panic. The answer is to get on with my life as soon as possible, stop worrying and hope for the best.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Dynamics CRM Developer (C#, .NET, Dynamics CRM 2011/2013)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...

Web Developer (C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, JavaScript, MVC, HTML)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (Web, HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET, JS, Visual Studios)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?