„Memories of rain“ tells the story of Jenny C. and Kevin Q., two South Africans, she from the white world, he from the black, who fought as commanders in the intelligence service of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) against the Apartheid government.
The film is not a historical study of the armed struggle of the ANC but the story of two people’s personal experiences, of how they grew up and became involved in the underground, of their goals and ideals, and of the struggle to maintain these when confronted with the dark side of a military conflict. It is the story of a life spent in exile which leads Kevin through the ANC military camps in Angola and Jenny through intelligence training in the former German Democratic Republic in East Berlin.
But it is also a story of working underground inside South Africa itself, of a life spent in camouphlage, of being cut off from normal society, a life of self-discipline so rigid that it threatens to destroy spontaneity, and leaves no space to live the empathy which motivated the young cadres in the first place. A life where the individual’s needs succumb to those of the collective; a life of overburdening responsibility and of being driven to further and further extremes.
In the attitudes and experiences of Jenny and Kevin, and of those around them, a picture emerges of humanity and bravery, of dedication and sacrifice. But their lives are fraught, too, with pain and guilt, with doubt and disappointment as the contradictions of the armed struggle unfold around them.
Shooting began in 1994 when South Africa elected their first democratic government . A very personal narrative thread leads the way through the film, and a number of those who shared Jenny and Kevins’ lives help to tell the tale.
We started making this film in the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, 1994.
Ten years and 250 video tapes later we find we can still only express our response to those who told us of their struggle to get us all past the injustice and callousness which was Apartheid as one of admiration and gratitude.
They are not shining knights waving their banners of pure ideals, but ordinary people, beset by doubts and weaknesses who nevertheless held on to their goal of regaining their humanity. And in so doing they have done us all a service.
One sentence Synopsis
The story of two South Africans, one white, one black, who take part in the struggle against Apartheid, of their hopes, successes and disappointments and of their reflection as to whether things could have been done differently. The film uses the specific setting for wider questions about the results of humiliating and exploiting ethnic groups and how opposition to oppression can be carried out without the freedom fighters losing their ideals.