Movie Review: Good Hope

South Africa is the only country on earth named after a cardinal direction and continent. Our nation has been an obsession for the world, constantly referenced in pop culture and regularly making world headlines for political mismanagement and sporting triumphs. Our difficult history and transition miracle has kept the country on the world’s radar over the last 50 years. Perhaps there’s a fascination with our diversity, demography and challenges, which help serve as a microcosm for the world itself.

Home to Table Mountain overlooking one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, this is a place of great beauty and unlimited potential. Unfortunately, our people have made it a place of great sadness too – divided along racial and cultural lines and still haunted by the affects of colonialism and systemic racism. Beautiful yet broken, it’s a democratic society on a journey of healing… struggling to overcome deep-seated economic inequalities 25 years after the first free and fair elections. This is the context for the uplifting and empowering documentary, Good Hope… a must-see for all South Africans.

A first and third world hybrid, South Africa is rated as one of the most unequal and pessimistic societies in the world. Having a minority in a much better financial situation than the majority 25 years after our country’s rebirth, it’s no wonder there’s growing frustration and populist support for extreme views. Only a small percentage of the previously disadvantaged have advanced while unemployment is on the rise and corruption is the norm among a seemingly unmovable ruling party – it’s no wonder nefarious PR firms have been able to stoke racial tensions so easily. Understandably, many documentaries and films about South Africa are still grappling with our painful past, trying to unpack centuries of inequality, identify our current challenges and determine why we’re not moving forward.

This is what makes the ‘state of the nation’ documentary Good Hope so refreshing. Anthony Fabian introduces his feature-length documentary explaining that after directing two South Africa films he was inspired to make a film with a more positive outlook. He felt a disconnect between his experience of being here and the way people spoke about the country. His vision for Good Hope was shaped and inspired by the “articulate, well-rounded, ambitious” young people he met. Instead of opting to focus on the problems, Fabian endeavours to explore the possibilities for our country’s next generation through achievable solutions, restoration of confidence in humanity and the power of one.

Good Hope documentary

“I got this, guys. We got this.”

The constant barrage of bad news about crime, our inept government and structural inefficiencies has a debilitating effect on our collective psyche. Fabian acknowledges the current inequalities, the remnants of a segregated system, the inefficiencies of a fledgling democracy and failings of a corrupt government. Good Hope isn’t glossing over the struggles of the past but rather promoting an infectious can-do attitude for the future. Celebrating South Africa’s remarkable achievements, our constitution and the potential to become a global powerhouse, Good Hope carries forth Mandela’s positive vision for our country.

Nelson Mandela and our rainbow nation story have been a true inspiration for the world. A political icon and symbol of hope, freedom and peace, Madiba’s made a lasting impact worldwide through his reconciliatory and humanitarian efforts. In spite of criticism over a negotiated freedom, Mandela is widely regarded as our country’s best President. His brilliant insights about humanity and society intersperse this documentary, illuminating the great man’s vision for South Africa. These quotes also serve to guide Good Hope‘s narrative as various aspects are explored through interviews and on-the-ground footage.

Good Hope has an optimistic intensity, reminding us of the euphoria we experienced in 1994, rekindling Mandela’s dream and pointing us in the right direction. The many South Africans who are interviewed express the challenges with a sense of hope in the next generation. The ‘state of the nation’ documentary showcases the current efforts around rehabilitating our education system, bolstering entrepreneurship programmes and adopting a go-getting approach. It goes deeper to show the slow-boiling optimism at our core and leverages interviews with inspiring ambassadors of hope and regeneration.

Fabian gathers interviews from inspirational business leaders who have committed their enterprises to social and economic upliftment. He also garners commentary from respected public figures in former public protector Thuli Madonsela, playwright Mike van Graan, politician Mmusi Maimane, author and radio personality Lerato Tshabalala, comedian Kagiso Lediga, newspaper editor Khadija Patel, political analyst Justice Malala as well as Rugby World Cup captain and sporting sensation, Siya Kolisi.

Speaking openly about South Africa, Good Hope is just the tonic our country needs right now. Filmed before the pandemic, the situation has intensified but Good Hope isn’t about a fixed moment in time, it’s geared towards the future. In this respect, all of the proposed solutions are still attainable and within reach. Now more than ever, it’s time for people to realise their true worth and innate power to effect positive change. Coming alongside one another to repair and restore, our citizens need to harness their resources and platforms to help effect a brighter future for one and all.

The bottom line: Empowering