Come Back Africa (1959)

Come Back Africa


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A native South African travels from his native village to Johannesburg. Working to support his family, the affable man's attitude changes when he is wronged by his white employers. The high life of the rich whites contrasts to that of the slum dwelling laborer who later sends for his family to join him.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Special Interest
Directed By:

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Critic Reviews for Come Back Africa

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (8)

"Come Back, Africa" is most effective as an ethnographic documentary, with cinema verite images of white privilege and black poverty.

Full Review… | May 25, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

While the sights and the sounds aren't enough to constitute a great movie in and of themselves, they do result in a fascinating document.

Full Review… | January 27, 2012
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Come Back, Africa is a work of amazing grace-and a forgotten treasure.

Full Review… | January 24, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Rogosin was showing a vital culture on the brink, at the moment when it was calcifying into the form it would hold for more than three decades to come.

Full Review… | January 24, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Come Back, Africa is a timely and remarkable piece of cinema journalism: a matter-of-fact, horrifying study of life in the black depths of South African society.

Full Review… | June 9, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

What it lacks in dramatic structure, it makes up in pictorial urgency.

Full Review… | June 9, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Come Back Africa

"Come Back, Africa" is something of a historical curio. Filmed in secret in Apartheid-era South Africa in 1959, the film follows Zachariah(Zacharia Mgabi), fresh from Zululand, who is looking for work. First, he ends up at a gold mine where he has no experience but receives brief training before being sent into the mines. His intent is to work in Johannesburg where he can establish a home for his family. To such ends, he asks for help from his supervisor but his first job in the city as an in-house servant ends badly.

All of that may be news to those watching in 1959, especially with its references to the African National Congress, and other South African political discussions of the day in response to restrictions on the African population. But to those of us watching in 2012 after the huge amount that has already been written on the subject, there is nothing new here in the movie's episodic structure with its reliance on non-professional actors with occasional musical interludes. Plus, the ending is more than a little sudden.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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