4 user 18 critic

Come Back, Africa (1959)

Come Back, Africa chronicles the life of Zachariah, a black South African living under the rule of the harsh apartheid government in 1959.


Lionel Rogosin


Bloke Modisane, Lewis Nkosi (as Lewis N'Kosi) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Zacharia Mgabi Zacharia Mgabi ... Zachariah
Vinah Bendile ... Vinah
Miriam Makeba ... Miriam
Lewis Nkosi Lewis Nkosi ... Lewis
Bloke Modisane ... Bloke
Can Themba Can Themba ... Can
Myrtle Berman Myrtle Berman ... Myrtle
George Malebye George Malebye ... George
Morris Hugh Morris Hugh ... Morris
Rams Rams ... Rams
Hazel Futa ... Hazel
Martha Martha ... Aunty


Come Back, Africa chronicles the life of Zachariah, a black South African living under the rule of the harsh apartheid government in 1959.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

apartheid | racism | south africa | See All (3) »


Documentary | Drama


Did You Know?


The first South African film to be made covertly. See more »


Featured in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

User Reviews

1 December 2016 | by drjgardnerSee all my reviews

"Come back Africa" is a 1959 black and white film that is part documentary and part fiction. The documentary sections provide a compelling look at life in a Johannesburg township in 1959 and life for blacks and Afrikaners in the City itself. Interwoven with this documentary is a fictional account of the life of a rural Black man who comes to Johannesburg looking for work. All the performers are real people and not actors, which is more than evident, and the scenes take place in real locations.

The singer Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) is featured in the film, and as a result of her performance she managed to escape South Africa and came to the U.S. where she began a distinguished career. Producer Lionel Rogosin (1924-2000) helped her escape, supported her, and established the Bleecker Street Cinema in 1960 where "Come Back Africa" and other "art" shows had a chance to be displayed, influencing the careers of many future film makers.

I lived in South Africa from 1977 to 1980 and can attest to many of the scenes you will see, which take place in 1959 but which were still present when I was there. By the time I lived there life was less pleasant for many than it was at the time of this filming, if you can imagine that.

This is a unique film and one that can be watched mostly for its historical importance, and as a representation of a genre that is under represented.

There are many films about life in South Africa. Among the best are "Shaka Zulu" (1986) and "Zulu" (1964) for the colonial days, "Cry the Beloved Country" (1951) and "A Dry White Season" (1989) for the in between years, "Inside" (1996) and "Mandela and de Klerk" (1997) for the more recent vista.

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English | Afrikaans

Release Date:

20 January 1960 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Africa in crisi See more »

Filming Locations:

Johannesburg, South Africa

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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