Africa Sings

Early documentary on race in South Africa. First documentary to attempt an overview of life in South Africa with introduction spoken and sung by Paul Robeson.

directed by: Joseph Best
produced by: Joseph Best
(1936) 39 minutes
40 min 30 min

Made in 1936, Africa Sings is the first documentary from South Africa to take a look at the lives of South Africans of all races. There are invaluable images of location life, schools and colleges, and a cross-section of occupations, from mine-workers to road-gangs, school-teachers to house- servants, waiters to cane-cutters. It is provocative in its suggestion that poor whites are inferior to educated blacks. The documentary is introduced by Paul Robeson, who also sings.