Athabasca University

Athabasca University

Athabasca, AB, CA


1955 Films presents: Solidarity? Revealing the Everyday Lived Reality of Covid-19 in Kliptown, Soweto

By veronicamadonna
Oct 29, '20 1:17 PM EST

Date:  Tuesday November 3rd, 2020

Time: 9:00am – 10:30am MST /  6:00pm – 7:30pm SAST

Venue: Free Online Video Conference - Film Screening 

To Register:


This film has been shot and driven by the people living the story, a sovereign group from squatter camps and academia. It shows the urgency of today’s pandemic set within a neighborhood of shacks that has been neglected by the government for decades. Ours is both a very human story and a radical shift in stakeholder solidarity. The film draws on Steve Biko’s argument for the critical connection between community and culture, and his commitment to a form of activism that manifests in real life community development projects responding to community identified need. The character of the film’s narrative reflects the historic lineage of theatre’s role in South African civic discourse and its pivotal shift from a voice of protest to a stage of resistance.

About 1955 Films: 

On the 26th of June 1955, a crowd from all over South Africa gathered in Kliptown, Soweto for the Congress of the People. At that meeting The Freedom Charterwas drawn up and signed. It stated a set of principles that became a symbol for the anti-apartheid struggle and later the core of South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution.

1955 Films is part of 1955 LLC, a social enterprise startup in Kliptown. Our name is a reference to the essence and meaning of South Africa’s Freedom Charterand reflects our belief that its core tenets are an avenue to empowering communities. We are a sovereign mix of innovative social entrepreneurs from the ghetto and academia. We are very intentionally not a charity or an NGO. 1955 is the radical brainchild of longtime friends and colleagues who met 8 years ago as a post-doctoral fellow and a group of residents from the Kliptown shack communities Freedom Charter Square and Race Course. What drew us together were our passionsfor social equityand creativity. To this day we continually learn from each other in grappling withsocio-economic, racial, knowledge and institutional hierarchies, or simply in sharing favourite music or a meal.

What we do: we have been running a Covid-19 initiative for the last 8 months; we produce virtual field trips as an academic resource; we make documentary films; we are developing a startup company that will collaborate with local residents and zama zamarecyclers to transform local waste plastics into 3D printer filament. We are working with our local community leadership and the City of Johannesburg to address the dire basic service and housing issues we face as Kliptown residents. Our primary goal is to start a community radio station, The Voice of Freedom.It will be on the airwaves as well as a physical space where everyone is welcome to come and just hang out in a safe place, or strategies ways to support residents’ everyday lives, or to dreams their own and the community’s future, or just to have a good conversation.

View film trailer:

For more information on 1955, please visit:


Participants who attend the full 90-minute session will be granted a Certificate of Completion to apply for professional development credits recognized by the following institutes.

  • Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) | 1.5 Structured Learning Hour
  • Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) | 1.5 Structured Learning Hour
  • Cape Institute for Architecture (CIfA) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits
  • Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIFA) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits
  • KwaZulu Natal Institute for Architecture (SAIA-KZN) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits

For Inquires: 

Veronica Madonna

Assistant Professor, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University

View film trailer