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One Humanity (2014) Online

One Humanity (2014) Online
Original Title :
One Humanity
Genre :
Movie / Documentary
Year :
Directror :
Mickey Madoda Dube
Type :
Time :
1h 50min
Rating :
One Humanity (2014) Online

The film examines the background to the two global television broadcasts that were staged in the name of Nelson Mandela in 1988 (while he was still in prison on Robben Island) and 1990 (less than two months after his release), as well as the role they played in the struggle to end the Apartheid system, and illustrates how they were possible only because they could build on the 40-year work of the international solidarity movement.

User reviews



In my 15 year old mind I do remember thinking there was something slightly uncool and perhaps even exploitative about Paul Simon's Graceland LP, and so not buying it. But I wondered at the same time why isn't there more African music like this? So at least it did bring my attention to the music in a way, as at that time I'd never heard of Harry Belafonte...

I was particularly struck by the insight into the global politics, which I was too young to understand back in the day, and the scale of support for the apartheid regime as a strategic cold war ally to the West. The most amazing thing about this concert then, is that all those music promoters and producers, as well as artists, were willing to go up against the establishment in that way.

Yes there are the wealthy stars but there are also just a lot of regular people working for the Greater London Council and Trade Unionists who were putting their careers, homes and even lives on the line by getting involved in organising this. Something which is lacking today, with things like the anti-globalisation or ecological protests. Nobody has generated feeling on this scale since.

An inspiring telling of the story.


One Humanity tells the story of how the world came to focus on the ending of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the role played in this by two international broadcasts based on two star-studded concerts held at Wembley Stadium in London. Both events were broadcast by the BBC, despite fierce governmental opposition, protests in the House of Commons, threats of legal action and the assertion of Margaret Thatcher, who was then prime minister, that the ANC was a terrorist group and that Nelson Mandela should remain in prison. The two events were both held in his name; the first in 1988 whilst he was still serving his sentence on Robben Island, the second in 1990, two months after his release.

Clocking in at just under two hours, the feature-length documentary is well worth the time it takes to watch, providing a fresh angle on the blood-tainted pages of South Africa's history and Mandela's symbolic incarceration. It features spectacular concert performances, behind-the-scenes clips, exclusive interviews and contemporary news footage relaying the political pressures, the South African uprising, the disparate Western reactions, the controversies surrounding both the concerts and the growing strength of the anti-apartheid movement.

It also provides an enlightening insight into Great Britain's majoritarian reaction to the horrors of a country disassociated from theirs, despite Thatcher's oppressive thumb. The documentary is a celebration of humanity's unifying spirit, of what one man's vision is capable of on an internationally-wide level when supported by the right hands. Focussing on producer Tony Hollingsworth's unique vision, we see that by using music as a positive driver for change, he helped to tip the anti-apartheid movement into mainstream media. Two years later the world witnessed the release of Mandela from prison and saw the Wembley audience stand tall in his presence only two months after he had again savoured the sweet taste of freedom. The broadcast reached a grand total of 600 million people across 100 countries, proving itself a true testament to humanity.

Although the line-ups included a mind-blowing list of artists such as Annie Lennox, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Van Zandt, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, The Manhattan Brothers, Jackson Browne, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Stetsasonic, Aswad, Sly & Robbie, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, the documentary also frames a contrast between the national hype created by the concerts, and the reality of the horrors faced by thousands in South Africa. The film delves into the history of the apartheid system, touching on the South African army's violent retaliation to the anti- apartheid movement by providing real-life clips of the National Party's actions and chilling footage of South Africa's then secretary of information's perverse view on equality. The interviews are laced with examples and clips of the Sharpeville massacre, the New Boycott movement and the signing of the Charter of the United Nations. The concerts' momentum brought the western world one step closer to questioning and defying racial segregation by playing and celebrating songs such as Peter Gabriel's' "Biko", Jerry Dammer's eponymous hit "Free Nelson Mandela", and Sting's "They Dance Alone". We are also blessed to witness the concert stadium reverberating with unified and universal commitment to the cause, following Whoopi Goldberg's political speech (which was edited out of the US broadcast by Fox) and Stevie Wonder's spine-tingling and spontaneous stage appearance, despite his earlier reluctance to appear. But the film does not does not stop to linger on these inspirational performances, which would have hindered its fluidity, but instead gives a comprehensive view on the whole situation at hand. Taking this stand against persecution required effort and determination.

The BBC stuck to its decision to broadcast despite accusations of a possible breach of its Charter. Hollingsworth explains how he refused to cave in to death threats and how he even invested his life savings into the first event, such was his dedication to fighting injustice. By 1990, his work had paid off. Few were the people who remained unperturbed by such unjust violence in South Africa, or unaffected by the stories of Mandela and countless other, or even ignorant of the meaning behind these world-renowned pop hits.

Mandela was released from prison after 27 years of incarceration; the documentary shows footage of him as a free man. Two months later a second concert was being staged, one which consolidated international solidarity. With its reflective tone, the documentary ends on a sobering note, serving as a reminder that the apartheid system had yet to be eradicated. That many of the horrors were still present. One justice, after all, does not eradicate a million injustices.

With its archival news footage, interchanging voice-over narration and uninflected cuts, the documentary provides an unconventional slant on a provocative topic, tucking its assertions neatly into the folds of the film. This is perhaps one of the most significant documentaries of the 20th century, a must-see for older and younger generations alike, if only to witness how international solidarity can bring about positive change.


This is a terrific documentary. It examines the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa by focusing on the concert held at Wembley Stadium in June 1988 on the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday and as part of the campaign for his release from prison. The concert was broadcast in more than 60 countries with a world-wide audience of more than 600 million. There is footage from the concert (and a follow-up concert in 1990 to celebrate his release), other archive material and more recent interviews with key figures of the time. These are blended to tell the audience what apartheid was about, and how the concerts were instrumental in changing public perceptions outside South Africa and so helping to bring about its demise.

As someone who lived through the period it is fascinating to be reminded of how far 'official' attitudes in Britain have changed since the concert was staged. The campaign to 'Release Nelson Mandela' (the slogan that appeared on posters and T-shirts) was not supported by the British Government – there is a clip of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher referring to Mandela as a 'terrorist'. The right-wing press took the same line. And this reviewer can remember Conservative students launching their own campaign with the slogan 'Hang Nelson Mandela'.

By the time Mandela died he had become a secular saint, and the panegyrics from all quarters – including some of those self-same students become MPs and journalists etc. - make it easy to forget that anyone ever thought anything else.

The film is a healthy corrective to all that – a reminder for those who were there, and an eye-opening lesson for those who were not. See it.


'We are here, to take part, in a unique event', the words ring out from Wembley Stadium June 1988. The camera pans across a vast audience of all races and backgrounds cheering and celebrating the concert event, the brainchild of producer Tony Hollingsworth, to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday and the ending of apartheid. Annie Lennox of Eurythmics fame who performed said of the atmosphere 'There's no question that the whole place reverberated humanity, it was the feeling of brotherhood, sisterhood, humanity, what is right, what is just and that's what was really beautiful about it.' Six hundred million viewers across one hundred countries watched the event broadcast in sixty five different languages. The reach was far and wide.

There was much political unrest and upheaval with various western and eastern powers vying for control in South Africa for the untapped natural resources. This central control of resources and power structuring of controlling workers made great profit for the central South African government and drove a wedge between the white and black population of South Africa. In 1948 the South African Nationalist Party cabinet is formed and goes about the creation of what came to be known as 'Apartheid.' A smear campaign was started against those who were anti-apartheid; Mandela was branded a 'terrorist' for his actions. Demonstrations and marches were held, police and army intervention occurred, and live ammunition was broadly and unflinchingly used. Innocents of all ages were killed at these demonstrations and this direct brutality further more fuelled the hearts of the people in their vigour of the protests against the unjustness of apartheid.

Ambassador Abdul Minty, the Honorary Secretary of the British Anti- Apartheid Movement (1962-1995) spoke out against apartheid and spoke to African chief leader Albert Cuthuli in 1959 who helped to create a boycott movement against South Africa to not buy products or to trade with South Africa as to not fund apartheid.

Britain's anti-apartheid movement was growing steadily and various political officials who had sided with the anti-apartheid movement were threatened with violence unless they ceased their actions and attempts were made on their lives. The year 1964 was crucial as Nelson Mandela and his co-accused, who were standing trial for their charges of terrorism and crimes against the state of South Africa, had narrowly escaped the death sentence. The campaign to save their lives had been successful, the group was instead sentenced to life imprisonment and Mandela would begin his infamous 18 year stay at Robben Island prison.

Hollingsworth approached several big bands such as Simple Minds, George Michael, Sting, Eric Clapton, The Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel, Boy George and Big Audio Dynamite to perform in the Mandela concert. Once the motion started it grew and grew, many African and African- American musicians such as: Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Al Green, Tracy Chapman, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba were added to the bill. More protest songs were performed at this event most noticeably 'Free Nelson Mandela' by Jerry Dammers, Peter Gabriel's 'Biko' in memory of Steven Biko and Sting's adapted version of 'They Dance Alone' directed against Augusto Pinochet.

The concert lasted for eleven hours and was met with roaring support and approval from the crowds. With the distribution of the concert reaching around the world the world started paying more and more attention to the problem of apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, and, eventually, in the February of 1990, Mandela was released from prison where he had been held for the last 27 years. A second concert was organised on the success of the first by the BBC to celebrate Nelson Mandela's release from prison and Mandela himself came on stage to tumultuous applause lasting eight minutes to thank those who had helped him along the way.

Apartheid came to its official end in 1994 and many thank the musicians and the politicians involved in the Mandela tribute concerts as well as the audiences who showed their love and support and everyone else who had been involved in whatever capacity, no matter how small, along the way. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to certain ideals and beliefs the strength and the resilience of everyone that fought against the barbarism of the apartheid regime is shown throughout.

The energy and the love that the musicians brought with them on stage was powerful and through their passion and music helped to bond everyone in the crowd together with dancing in celebration of peace and harmony and togetherness. A solid reminder of the fact than we are all alive together, that we all human together, that we are one humanity.


'One Humanity' tells us the story of two globally recognised television broadcasts coming together as one to focus on a huge part of history – to bring an end to the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. It's the combination of the footage from the 1988 and 1990 concerts at Wembley that were dedicated to Nelson Mandela, along with huge talent like Whitney Houston and Annie Lennox performing on stage and the insightful interviews from artists and members from the anti-apartheid movement that gives this documentary its' power. Dube has created much more than an emotionally moving documentary, he has recorded evidence of the world uniting as one and we can certainly feel that from this insightful and heart-wrenching masterpiece.