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INDEPENDENT LENS: Have You Heard From Johannesburg?

Airs Tuesdays, January 10 - February 7, 2012 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, 1962.

Credit: Courtesy of UWC - Robben Island Mayibuye Archives

Above: Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, 1962.

This five-part series chronicles the unprecedented international movement of citizen activists who fought for three decades to bring down the brutal, racist system of apartheid in South Africa when their governments would not.

As the U.N. adopts the Declaration of Human Rights, South Africa heads in the opposite direction and implements apartheid. A mass movement is born, then crushed and Nelson Mandela is jailed for life. The future of the movement is now on the shoulders of Oliver Tambo, who escapes into exile and begins a 30-year journey to engage the world in the struggle to bring democracy to South Africa.

Almost 50 years ago, South Africans began to realize that their freedom struggle had to be built in four arenas of action: mass action, underground organization, armed struggle, and international mobilization. These documentaries take viewers inside that last arena, the movement to mobilize worldwide citizen action to isolate the apartheid regime. The film is by Connie Field.

"Road To Resistance" airs Tuesday, January 10 at 11 p.m. - Just as the United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, South Africa heads in the opposite direction, instituting a system of racist and oppressive laws against non-whites and imprisoning opposition leaders, including Nelson Mandela.

“The New Generation” airs Tuesday, January 17 at 11 p.m. - When South Africa’s ruling whites brutally suppress a youth uprising in Soweto and murder resistance leader Steven Biko, young people in the West join a growing international movement to sanction and isolate South Africa.

“From Selma To Soweto” airs Tuesday, January 24 at 11 p.m. - Only a decade removed from the height of its own civil rights movement, the United States becomes a key battleground as African Americans lead a grassroots movement to force the United States to reverse its policies toward South Africa.

“The Bottom Line” airs Tuesday, January 31 at 11 p.m. - The most effective tactic in globalizing the fight against apartheid was the grassroots boycott and divestment campaign that targeted Western corporations doing business with the South African regime.

“Free At Last” airs Tuesday, February 7 at 11 p.m. - The apartheid regime in Pretoria crumbles under pressure from a united popular uprising inside its borders and crushing international pressure to reform. Nelson Mandela is freed from prison and in 1990 is elected president of a democratic South Africa.

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Preview: Independent Lens: Have You Heard From Johannesburg?

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Watch A Landmark Series on the Anti-Apartheid Movement on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

Episode One: Road To Resistance: 1948 - 1964

Have You Heard From Johannesburg: Road To Resistance (1 of 7) from Clarity Films on Vimeo.

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