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Tsotsi Case Study

Rob Miller | Sunday January 23, 2022

Categories: GCSE, WJEC GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, Tsotsi, Genres & Case Studies, Crime, Drama, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation


Further Reading

  • Studying Tsotsi: Judith Gunn (Auteur Publishing)


  • Best Foreign Language Film - 2006 Academy Awards

Institutional Factors and Representation of People, Places, Events and Issues

Tsotsi (urban slang – thug) is a film based on a novel by Athol Fugard set in the impoverished township of Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa – Fugard is best known for his plays with political narratives opposing the historical South African system of Apartheid but wrote his only novel Tsotsi in draft form in the 1960s – he re-edited and published the book in 1980. The book explores deep-rooted racism, abject poverty and brooding violence and also issues of corruption and redemption that the film stays faithful to. Crucially however, the film is placed in contemporary post Apartheid (2005) while the book is set in a politically troubled, fundamentally racist South Africa of the 1950s/60s. This is the time Nelson Mandela was active in leading the sometimes violent fight against oppression leading to his life prison sentence in 1964. Apartheid ended in 1994 when Mandela began his tenure as the first black President of South Africa.

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