WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM

Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  PublicationsPublications  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  
Latest topics
Colonel R.T. Glyn, 1/24th Regt. kwaSokhexe, Ulundi
[Mac and Shad](Isandula Collection)
Secrets Of The Dead The Mystery Of Zulu Dawn
Search
 
 

Display results as :
 
Rechercher Advanced Search
Top posters
90th
 
littlehand
 
Frank Allewell
 
ADMIN
 
Chelmsfordthescapegoat
 
John
 
Mr M. Cooper
 
1879graves
 
impi
 
rusteze
 
Fair Use Notice
Fair use notice. This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website. If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Top posting users this month
Drummer Boy 14
 
Frank Allewell
 
90th
 
rusteze
 
ADMIN
 
SRB1965
 
Julian Whybra
 
ymob
 
1879graves
 
xhosa2000
 
Most active topics
Isandlwana, Last Stands
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
Durnford was he capable.5
Durnford was he capable.1
Durnford was he capable. 3
Durnford was he capable.2
Durnford was he capable. 4
The ammunition question
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
The missing five hours.

Share | 
 

 Ken Gampu, Zulu Dawn

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Ken Gampu, Zulu Dawn   Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:50 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Added By Admin

During the darkest days of apartheid, Ken Gampu, who has died aged 74, became the first black South African film star, and an inspiration to a generation of black South African actors by appearing in several international productions. There was a price to be paid, however, because most of the roles he was called upon to play were those of stereotypical noble savages.

As the independent filmmaker Peter Davis writes in his book, In Darkest Hollywood: "When Hollywood seized on Africa, it became a vast hunting ground for the white man; the pictures of the native people are scarcely distinguishable from those of the animal trophies."

Even when there were interracial friendships, in such films as Dingaka (1964) and The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980), both of which featured Gampu, they only existed "in a fictive South Africa that bore little resemblance to reality. The stories showed a South Africa where black/white friendships existed, by misrepresenting the harsh facts of increased racial divisions within South African life."

Gampu, like Paul Robeson many years earlier, had little choice. However, according to Eddie Mbalo, chief executive of South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation: "Ken paved the way for many talented black actors to start recognising their abilities. He also provided our local actors with the motivation to become bigger stars, proving that not even Hollywood is beyond their reach."

Testifying to this influence is Vusi Kunene, one of today's finest South African actors, who had wanted to act ever since he was six years old and saw Gampu in Dingaka. "That image of Ken opened up a whole new world for me," he explained. "My family was poor, and the traditional Zulu stories my mother told us were very real. Dingaka was such a story - good versus evil, tribal justice versus white law - and a hero who takes on a crooked sangoma (healer) to avenge the death of his child. I was hooked."

Dingaka, the first feature directed by Jamie Uys, was unusual for a South African production because it tackled issues of culture and race in a non-simplistic manner, and Gampu's character was more than the usual adjunct to whites. In the story, when a black tribesman (Gampu) avenges the murder of his daughter, following tribal laws, his quest leads him into the white courts, where justice for the black man simply does not exist.

The imposing, 6ft 2in tall Gampu was born in Germiston, not far from Johannesburg. He worked as a physical training instructor, a furniture salesman, an interpreter - he spoke seven native dialects, in addition to English and Afrikaans - and a policeman before a musician friend told him that Athol Fugard was looking for a tall man with a good voice to act in his first play, No Good Friday (1958), a cynical and embittered study of racism. The following year, Gampu had a part in King Kong, the hit musical about a black boxer, which had a successful run in London.

A year later, he made his first film, Tremor, about a South African mine disaster, but his real break came in Dingaka, when he was 35. When Cornel Wilde went to South Africa to make his ethnographic adventure film The Naked Prey (1966), he cast Gampu as the warrior chief of a tribe of headhunters.

Between 1968 and 1970, Gampu spent two years in Hollywood, though he had few roles. He was, however, able to use his sonorous voice in a Los Angeles poetry reading, directed by Richard Harris, alongside Edward G Robinson, Peter Sellers, Mia Farrow and Faye Dunaway.

Despite the daily humiliations suffered by black South Africans under apartheid, Gampu decided to return to his native land. "This is my home, my roots are here," he said. He once described how he would walk through Joubert Park in Johannesburg, and "dream about sitting on one of those benches marked Whites Only".

For the most part, Gampu's response to apartheid was dry humour, although the slightest perception that he was being patronised would bring some bitterness to the surface. In 1975, he played Lennie in a South African stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, to much critical acclaim - but only after the department of Bantu administration had given him permission to share a stage with whites. "For the first time, the black man was on an equal footing with the white man," he told an interviewer. "And you know, the heavens didn't fall."

Gampu continued to appear in colonial-themed films, where equality was barely discernible. He fought Burt Lancaster in Zulu Dawn (1979), played the title role of Morenga (1985), a rebel against the German colon-ialists in 1904 who flees to South Africa only to find the British just as bad, and supported Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone in King Solomon's Mines (1985), playing Umbopa, the character portrayed by Robeson in the superior 1937 version.

One of his last films, a relief from colonial adventures and exploitative martial arts pictures such as American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991), was A Reasonable Man (1999), a courtroom drama of tribal rituals, directed by actor Gavin Hood, which revisited the world of Dingaka.

Gampu, who lived most of his life in a modest home in the East Rand, is survived by his wife and two sons.

· Ken Gampu, actor, born 1929; died November 4 2003
Back to top Go down
 
Ken Gampu, Zulu Dawn
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM  :: CELEBRITIES REMEMBERED-
Jump to: