This is National Wake

Documentary Feature

USA, South Africa, 66 Minutes
Director Mirissa Neff
Producers Mirissa Neff, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
Executive Producers Kweku Mandela, Kathryn Everett, Bryn Moose
Cinematographers Philip Bell, Nadine Kadey, Robin Muir
Music By National Wake

This is National Wake traces the wild rise of a multiracial South African punk band, dubbed “the band that defied apartheid," whose members risked everything to taste freedom. This debut feature offers a profound meditation on how history is lived through art and in our minds.

In 1979, South Africa’s fascist regime kept blacks and whites separate and unequal. But three young men —a white guitarist from Johannesburg’s Jewish side, and black Shangaan sibling musicians from Soweto — dared to launch National Wake. In a time and place where it was illegal for them to play or live together, their band and its fans fought back with music, smashing every law to rebel — and filmed themselves doing so in astonishing Super 8.

This is National Wake is a dreamlike immersion into a utopian journey, whose lasting lessons about imagining an anti-racist world resound as loudly today as this historic band’s rollicking sound.

Festivals & Awards

Sheffield DocFest
New Orleans Film Festival - Winner: Special Jury Mention

This Is Major

Documentary Short

USA, 34 Minutes