ZDF, Arte, VPro, SABC prep Apartheid doc

By Content Nigeria reporter
April 9, 2024

Free at Last

South Africa’s SABC has joined forces with Arte in Europe, Germany’s ZDF and VPro in the Netherlands to co-commission a German/South African docuseries recounting the history of Apartheid.

Free at Last (3×52’ or 1×90’) is a coproduction from Storyscope in South Africa and Beetz Brothers Productions in Germany. The doc weaves together exclusive accounts from both victims and perpetrators, unseen footage and previously unpublished documents to unveil the true stories behind the oppressive and racist regime that ruled South Africa for decades.

Commissioned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as president, Free at Last is exec produced by Beetz Brothers’ co-CEO Reinhardt Beetz and Storyscope’s CEO Neil Brandt. Misha Wessel and Thomas Blom, the duo behind The Hunt for Gaddafi’s Billions, and double Bafta-winning SA filmmaker Xoliswa Sithole are directing the doc.

Brandt said: “The backbone of the series is the unfolding of the infamous ‘COSAS 4’ case in which four youths who wanted to join the armed struggle got caught in a trap. The trial, currently in court, is the first where a case against humanity and murder perpetrated during Apartheid will be heard in a South African court.”

“Free At Last will assist us in delivering on our 30 Years of Democracy slate with the view of promoting continued dialogue and reigniting the nation in a period where many have lost hope. The documentary will also serve as a vehicle to carry the story of democracy forward and remind us how far we have come and how much further we can go,” said Tshilidzi Davhana, head of factual of SABC.

Beetz Brothers is handling presales of the doc and is in conversations with additional broadcast partners.