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May 11, 1992 (Cannes)
September 18, 1992 (U.S.)
October 9, 1992 (South Africa)
January 15, 1993 (UK)
March 3, 1993 (France)

Sarafina! is a 1992 French-British-South African-American musical drama film based on Mbongeni Ngema's 1987 musical of the same name. The film was directed by Darrell Roodt and written by Ngema and William Nicholson, and stars Leleti Khumalo, Miriam Makeba, John Kani, Ngema, and Whoopi Goldberg; Khumalo reprises her role from the stage performance.

An international co-production of the South Africa, United States, France, and the United Kingdom, the film premiered on 11 May 1992, at the Cannes Film Festival.


The plot centres on students involved in the Soweto Uprising, in opposition to the implementation of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools.

The character Sarafina (Leleti Khumalo) feels shame at her mother's (Miriam Makeba) acceptance of her role as domestic servant in a white household in apartheid South Africa, and inspires her peers to rise up in protest, especially after her inspirational teacher, Mary Masombuka (Whoopi Goldberg) is imprisoned. In the opening scene, Sarafina is seen talking while staring at Nelson Mandela's picture, at the time the South African icon was still imprisoned. In a later scene Sarafina is again talking while staring at Mandela's picture on the wall, criticizing him for being gone for a long time and not responding to the nation's pleas, idolising him as someone who can change the horrific situation that South Africa is in.

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