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Type: Journal article
Title: Re-telling freedom in Otelo Burning: the beach, surf noir, and Bildung at the Lamontville pool
Author: Samuelson, M.
Citation: Journal of African Cultural Studies, 2014; 26(3):307-323
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1369-6815
Statement of
Meg Samuelson
Abstract: The feature film Otelo Burning (2011) tells the story of black youth ‘tasting freedom’ by surfing waves in late apartheid South Africa and reflects on the emergence of a new national order by drawing Nelson Mandela’s release from prison into its plot. This article situates the film in a genealogy of black-centred representations of Durban beach – including Peter Abrahams’s memoir Tell Freedom (1954), Drum photographer Bob Gosani’s framing of Dolly Rathebe at a Durban beach (1957), Lewis Nkosi’s Mating Birds (1983) and the post-apartheid film Jerusalema (2008) – and in relation to international surfing fiction and film – particularly Kum Nunn’s novel trilogy and the films Point Break (1991) and Blue Crush (2002). It focuses on the settings of beach and sea, township and pool and teases out the generic scripts that compose the film. A tension between the attraction of the outlaw figure that informs ‘surf noir’ and the production of the Bildungsheld as normative, ‘responsibilitized’ citizen-subject is found to animate this story of surfing and to direct the questions about freedom that it poses from the vantage point of a democracy itself now coming of age.
Rights: © 2014 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
RMID: 0030066952
DOI: 10.1080/13696815.2014.935303
Appears in Collections:English publications

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