Shield And Spear

Petter Ringbom

United States 2014, 89 min.


Spoken language: English, Zulu, Afrikaans

Subtitles: English

Festival year: 2015

Lively documentary provides a kaleidoscopic view of the art scene in present-day South Africa. We see an artist who gets himself in trouble after painting a caricature of president Jacob Zuma with a big penis, and a musician who thinks up an archetypical African dictator. What has become of the ‘rainbow nation’?


A revolution is taking place in the undercurrent of South Africa’s changing political climate. It is led by musicians, fashion designers and artists who deal with political issues in their own way. Director Petter Ringbom follows some of South Africa’s most respected artists, trying to find out what it means for them to live and work in this young democratic state. 

Through personal stories of both white and black artists, the film sheds light on freedom of opinion in the rainbow nation and how artists deal with issues such as identity, creativity and race. These include a group of extravagant fashion designers in Soweto, a photographer who devotes her life to depicting the LGBT community, and a politically engaged music band from Johannesburg. Starring Brett Murray, BLK JKS, Zanele Muholi, Gazelle, The Brother Moves On, Yolanda Fyrus, Fokofpolisiekar and The Smarteez.


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Journeyman Pictures