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Wednesday, July 19, 2023



(Above: The cast and crew of the feature documentary “London Recruits” filmed in KwaZulu-Natal. Pic supplied))

Barefoot Rascals, a Welsh production company, together with Durban’s Arclight Productions have produced a feature documentary London Recruits and will be in Durban with leading protagonist - Ronnie Kasrils - during the Durban FilmMart (DFM) this weekend to promote the film.

London Recruits sheds light on a pivotal moment in South Africa's history. In 1970, the struggle against the apartheid government In South Africa developed a new secret weapon. Oliver Tambo hatched a daring plan to infiltrate young British activists into the country, posing as tourists. Their mission, in the face of brutal lockdown by the racist regime, was to help inspire ordinary South Africans to join a liberation movement that would never give up till freedom is won. The stakes could not have been higher. Not all of them made it home again.

Director/Producer Gordon Main met Durban producer Jacintha de Nobrega at a KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission delegation to the BFI London Film Festival in 2018. That saw the start of a collaboration to bring this inspiring story of international solidarity in the face of oppression to the big screen.

“Jacintha made it clear that we should come to Durban and KZN to film,” explains Gordon Main - UK Director/Producer. “It was the making of our project. The highly skilled local Durban crew, pool of acting talent and stunning variety of locations transformed this amazing story into a film - a marriage made in heaven.”

During the DFM to celebrate this UK/South Africa co-production, a nonviolent leaflet device or ‘bucket bomb’ will be re-created on Saturday, July 22 at 10h00 at the Amphitheatre in front of the Elangeni Hotel on Durban’s beachfront.

UK producer Colin Charles explains: “In 1970 - an age before social media and instant messaging - these leaflet devices were the only way that Oliver Tambo could get a message of hope through to his people. Engineered to make a big noise and hurl leaflets into the sky, they were deliberately designed not to harm anybody.”

“The young Ronnie Kasrils, under orders from the ANC command, recruited 60 ‘London Recruits” who went on 50 missions and set off countless bucket bombs, distributing over half a million leaflets, and not a single person was hurt,” he goes on to explain.

Guests at the event will include former Minister of Intelligence Services Ronnie Kasrils, Executive Producer of the film Robyn Slovo, South African producer Jacintha de Nobrega, Producer/Director Gordon Main and UK producer Colin Charles.

Gordon Main says: “It will be great to stand alongside Ronnie Kasrils as he witnesses the leaflet device he helped invent, for the first time since 1970. We are coming to share the movie with our cast and crew and promote it at Durban FilmMart.”

‘We are thrilled with this compelling documentary," stated Jacintha de Nobrega of Arclight Productions. "The whole project created opportunities for our filmmakers in KZN and it's been a fantastic experience to work on a co-production of this importance. We are grateful for the funding from KZN Film Commission and for the location support from the Durban Film Office."

The film will also be shown to a packed audience of specially-invited cast and crew at Suncoast CineCentre. Later the team will attend a panel discussion at the Durban FilmMart titled: Justice through Story: Film and Activism - featuring Ronnie Kasrils, Robyn Slovo, Julie Nederboorn (Movies that Matter), Zackie Achmat (#UniteBehind) and moderator, Niren Tolsi.

For more information about the film go to