Thomas Baptiste


Arriving in London from Jamaica to live in a district where racial hostility prevails, five-year old Jemima meets Johnny, a young Londoner of the same age. The two children wander off, spend the day exploring together, and end up playing in Johnny's secret den in the basement of a ruined house, which threatens to collapse at any moment.

the filmmaker


Lionel Ngakane was born in Pretoria in 1920. He became politically active from an early age, joining the ANC youth league. From 1948–1950 he was one of the journalist who initiated and worked on the groundbreaking intellectual Black magazine “Drum”. He went to Britain in 1950 to become a film director, but ended up working as an actor and assistant on many movies including Zoltan Korda’s Cry the Beloved Country (1951). Ngakane was dogged in his pursuit of his ambition, but faced hurdles to gain credibility as a Black film director in London in the ’50. In 1962 he bought a 16mm camera and made the political documentary Vukani/Awake, the first film on South Africa to be made by a Black African. His second film, the 1966 short Jemima & Johnny was awarded 1st Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Ngakane lived through the notorious Notting Hill Riots and the film was a direct response to those events. Ngakane was a founding member of the Pan–African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) in 1967. On returning to South Africa in 1994 he helped draft the white paper that led to the establishment of the National Film and Video Foun- dation, of which he was a board member. He was also on the board of the Film Resource Unit, and served on various other film-industry bodies until his death, in November 2003.

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