South African anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September was the representative of the ANC in France, Luxembourg and Switzerland until her murder outside of ANC offices in Paris in 1988. Despite an array of clues, her killer was never identified and the story of the 52 year old activist drifted into oblivion.
New details about the incident, compiled by noted filmmaker Enver Samuel, can now be seen in a documentary screened this month at the 23rd annual Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Murder in Paris” is a political crime thriller that shines new light on Dulcie’s role as an underground operative in the fight for the liberation of South Africa and for her efforts to expose the murky world of arms deals between the apartheid regime and France.
Using interviews and archival footage, Samuel’s film paints a gripping portrait of a patriot and dogged freedom fighter committed to the democratic ideals which she sadly did not live to enjoy in her home country.
“Murder in Paris is the culmination of a four-year journey which began in April 2017. A chance meeting in Switzerland with Randolph Arendse, a close relative of September’s, led me down the long road of making a documentary on a truly remarkable woman,” said director Samuel.
“Finding new archival material was a big task for me – like searching for and finding nuggets of gold. There is a pounding of the heart as one door opens and another and another, which takes you down a journey of discovery.
“On my first discovery of video footage I was transfixed. Tears welled up in my eyes … I had been working on ‘Murder in Paris’ for two years: I had immersed myself in reading about September; obtained countless photographs of and newspaper articles about her.
“Her personal and political integrity, her principled position, her moral courage and her vision for a better South Africa stand as a strong reminder of how central these values are, even today as we confront the unfinished business of the past and the present.“
“It has been 33 long years since Dulcie September’s assassination and there has been no justice for her and her family. I believe ‘Murder in Paris’ finally gives her a voice and I am hoping it will, in some form, be a catalyst to bring her name back into public discourse and, eventually, play a role in reopening an inquest into her untimely death,” Samuel said.
Also showing at the 10-day Festival is ‘President’ – an award-winning, gut-punching docu-thriller that follows the 2018 Zimbabwean elections, plus “amazing films” from Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, DRC; and SADC countries; Botswana, Mozambique, Eswatini.