THE DOUBLE LIVES OF CHILDREN OF REVOLUTIONARIES

By Khalo MATABANE

NATIONAL FILM & VIDEO FOUNDATION OF SOUTH AFRICA - as FIN

Documentary - Pre-Production 2015

The children of revolutionaries get to grips with the legacy of their parents.
We look at how revolutionary icons changed (or did not change) societies; scratch the surface of their status as heroes; highlight the burden of being born as a child of a
revolutionary, and whether it is possible for them to forge their own identity.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Khalo MATABANE
    • Writer(s)
    • Khalo MATABANE
    • Producer(s)
    • Carolyn CAREW, Kerstin meyer BEETZ, Christian BEETZ
    • Synopsis
    • Their parents are iconic figures with their faces painted on murals, streets named, books written, songs sung
      and films made about them. Their names are synonymous with the struggle for freedom and justice. The 20th century has given us some of the most celebrated and iconic freedom fighters. It was also a time of the anti- colonial struggles in the so-called Third World countries, and radical movements that swept Europe and the USA in the 1960’s. It was a century in which people demanded change by any means necessary. Their names are often synonymous with freedom, while others remain polarising and controversial figures. The mere mention of a revolutionary evokes commitment to a cause; selflessness, and sacrifice. Some of the revolutionaries occupy our imagination and have become brand names, their faces T-shirts of both the wealthy and the poor across the world. They have also become commercial commodities.

      But what effect has their parents’ double life had in the children? A life between the love for their children and an absolute dedication to a higher cause. In Greek mythology, children inherit the sins of their parents. What is it like to be a son or daughter of Che Guevara, Chairman Mao, student revolution leader Dutschke or African-American activist Malcolm? How have the children turned out to be?


      There is pressure for the children to follow in the footsteps of their parents or at least honour their ideals but it is always not the case. Some of the children accept the calling while others reject it. Other children find the legacy too heavy and cannot cope while some intentionally want to break away from the shadows of the parents and forge their own individual identities. Aleida Guevara followed in her father’s footsteps and became a doctor but in contrast Malcolm X ‘s daughter would be caught in cycle of substance abuse.

      The documentary will be filmed across Africa, Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA. It explores the relationship between children and their revolutionary parents, their personal stories and
      intimate memories against a huge political canvas. The personal is the political. In the eyes of millions, these revolutionaries are heroes or villains, but to their children they are their parents. The documentary will follow the everyday and extraordinary lives of these children. Double lives, too. They are daily confronted by the images of their parents and this comes in many ways whether through anniversary of their parents’ assassinations or death, a new book/ film/ documentary made about them, a street or building named after them or a random person in the street who recognises them. There is no way of escaping the overwhelming and grand images of their
      parents. Their parents legacies both positive and negative follow them every day, haunts them.


      The criteria for choosing the revolutionary icons are as follows: they must have children; the children must have memories of their parents, and they should not all agree on the legacy of their parents. There should be a contradiction and contrast among the children. The figures included are both well-known but some less well known from Europe and worldwide. A I already contacted some of the children – so far all of them were ready to speak to me. It is obvious that their stories offer such beautiful and contrasting insights.
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