Gravel Road Entertainment Group's Retro Afrika Bioscope presents the Mayibuye Film Festival on SABC 1 during Freedom Month. Starting on the 13th of April, and every Sunday after that at 20h30, SABC 1 will be showcasing two never before seen films produced in an era of South Africa's long forgotten film history.
Mayibuye means "bringing back what is lost" in Zulu, and in the month of April Retro Afrika Bioscope will be bringing audiences the first 6 of hundreds of lost South African
films from the 70's and 80's in the Mayibuye Film Festival on SABC 1. Not only is this the first time the films will be seen by audiences in over 20 years, but it will also be their first ever TV debut - and for audiences without access to SABC 1, at midnight after their screening, the films will be available to watch for free on the dedicated Retro Afrika Bioscope channel on Wabona.com and on Cinemo for Mxit subscribers.
Retro Afrika Bioscope is Gravel Road Entertainment Group's specialty release label for classic retro African content. In 2013 Gravel Road launched an initiative to locate,
digitally restore and re-release films produced for the oppressed majority (African) audiences in the 70's and 80's under the old South African film subsidy schemes. "Very few people are aware that there were literally hundreds of movies produced for African audiences during the Apartheid era, the majority of these (films) are pure entertainment and range in genres from Comedy to Westerns in local vernacular", says group CEO Benjamin Cowley. "This was the beginnings of our industry and no-one has paid any homage to this. This our way of honoring those who contributed to the development of our industry under the most trying of circumstances, where cast and crew were forced to eat, be transported and accommodated separately because of the colour of their skin," Cowley goes on to say. "We had Nollywood before there was Nollywood"
The initiative was launched with Joe Bullet, a filmed originally banned in 1973 by the Apartheid government, starring Ken Gampu, Abigail Kubeka and Cocky "Two Bull". Joe
Bullet will have it's official African premier at the Durban International Film Festival in July this year, and is being considered by a number of other high profile international
film festivals. All films being released by Retro Afrika Bioscope undergo a highly specialized digital restoration process at the Waterfront Film Studios in Cape Town.