Breaking the Fetters

South Africa 30 after Dakar

Screening of the documentary film followed by a Panel Discussion


The almost 60-minute long documentary film ‘Breaking the Fetters’ (1987), directed by Hennie Serfontein, tells the story of how South African representatives of the then banned ANC met with prominent Afrikaners leaders from all fields of society opposing the apartheid regime in Dakar, Senegal in 1987. Even though the Afrikaners faced a backlash upon their return to South Africa, this historic meeting paved the way for a negotiated settlement and democracy.

At the time, the film material had to be smuggled out of South Africa and was edited in Amsterdam, as the ANC and its leaders were still banned, imprisoned or exiled. The film includes interviews and footage of later President Thabo Mbeki who led the ANC delegation at the time and then ANC president Oliver Tambo while in exile in Lusaka. After the ANC leaders returned from exile in 1990, a new version of the documentary was produced in 1993 which also included then President of the ANC, Nelson Mandela.

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is particularly honored to have Mrs Anli Serfontein, the South African freelance journalist and filmmaker who edited and produced both the 1987 and the 1993 film with us that evening. She will be joined by some of the protagonists of the film and other contemporary witnesses and observers of the Dakar meeting to share not only the film with us but also their personal experiences of those memorable moments in a subsequent panel discussion. His Excellency, Ambassador Phumelele Stone Sizani, is invited to address the audience with opening remarks.


18:00 Welcoming Remarks

Frank Priess, Deputy Head of Department European and International Cooperation, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

H.E. Ambassador Phumelele Stone Sizani, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa in Germany

18:10 Moderation

Anil Serfontein, South African freelance writer, journalist and filmmaker

18:15 Film Screening ‘Breaking the Fetters’ (1993)

by JHP (Hennie) Serfontein (1933-2017)

19:15 Panel Discussion with selected guests and contemporary witnesses

  • Dr. Theuns Eloff, Member of the Afrikaaner-Delegation in Dakar
  • John Battersby, Observer for the New York Times in Dakar
  • Matshaba Mothiane-Guliwe, Representative of the `Born-Free Generation`
19:50 Discussion

20:20 Concluding Remarks

Andrea Ellen Ostheimer, Head of Department for Sub-Saharan Africa, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

20:30 Reception in the foyer

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  • H.E. Ambassador Phumelele Stone Sizani
    • Frank Priess
      • Dr. Theuns Eloff
        • John Battersby
          • Matshaba Mothiane-Guliwe
            • Andrea Ellen Ostheimer


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