Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony

Lee Hirsch. | 103 minutes. Artisan Entertainment.

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Amandla! is a stylish, well-researched documentary that testifies to the power of music as a tool of salvation. Through interviews with South Africa’s leading black musicians, it chronicles the importance of music in the struggle against apartheid as well as the lineage of individual songs, demonstrating how one musical idea could bring solidarity across generations and social groups: from condemned prisoners to rebel soldiers to domestic workers.

In one of Amandla!‘s most poignant segments, Sophie Mgcina launches into an impromptu rendition of “Madam Please”: “Madam, please, / Before you ask me if your children are fine, / Ask me when I last saw mine.” The scars of apartheid are everywhere in Amandla!, but for each act of injustice, a song was there to greet it. The film opens and closes with scenes from the exhumation and dignified reburial — nearly 40 years after his execution — of Vuyisile Mini, a noted protest singer and activist. In the words of one of Mini’s friends, “He went to the gallows singing.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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