This Is National Wake
Q&A with director Mirissa Neff
In her energetic and revelatory directorial debut, Mirissa Neff tells the amazing story of young musicians who dared to start a band together against the rupture and racism of South Africa’s apartheid regime. Launched in 1979, National Wake was the collaboration of a Jewish guitarist from Johannesburg, Ivan Kadey, and two Black musician brothers from Soweto, Gary and Punka Khoza, at a time when it was illegal for them to play or live together. Though the government shut them down, the bandmates filmed their rebellious, brave performances on Super 8, capturing themselves for posterity. Neff uses this archival footage, along with audio interviews, to create a grainy, visually appropriate plunge into the past, telling the immersive story of a short-lived yet remarkable countercultural attempt at using music to fight an entrenched, racist world.