Film: 6113

Social History | 1960 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Blacks only prison in South Africa in the 1960s? Not many prisoners, possibly political or military prisoners, ANC? A prison inspection. Seems to be amateur, maybe shot by a prison warden or similar.

Pan round a hilly and fairly barren countryside with singly storey concrete buildings/huts scattered over it.
It is rather like what a surveillance camera would see from an observation post giving an overall picture from a position above a settlement.
It homes in on various parts of a compound surrounded by a high barb wire fence.
An armed guard is stationed at the entrance with a small building close by.
There is not much activity going on by prisoners. There are arrows on the prison uniform, so possibly military prisoners.
Plots of vegetation are shown but it is difficult to identify the plants.
An interior shot shows rudimentary flat palliase type bedding on the floor with small piles of personal possessions. Four well nourished men wearing freshly laundered clothes stand by each place.
A rather more comfortable sleeping arrangement is also shown with the addition of a mosquito net and a rosary hanging on the wall. This prisoner has a more extensive range of personal items including the books referred to above and photographs of what are probably members of family. There is no prisoner shown near this place.
A guard is standing outside the door whilst the camera is being used.
Change of scene to show the four men seated at a table one of whom is making/sewing something with white material, possibly uniform tops.
Change of scene again to large storage tanks probably containing water.
A stone pit with manhole inside, cover of which is raised for inspection, but due to the bright sun and dark interior of hole it is not possible to see anything.
The four men are then shown walking along a road outside the compound each one is carrying a jerrican type container. They are closely followed by two armed guards in helmets. On arrival at the storage tanks another man can be seen winding a wheel which presumably transfers water from the stone pit/well to the tank. The four men each fill their containers from taps at the bottom of the tank.
The film ends with them walking away balancing the containers on their heads.


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