Item - 1922 (TV SERIES)

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1922 (TV SERIES)

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450 mins
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Director: Edgar Bold: South Africa, 1984
Producer: Edgar Bold for the SABC
Writer; John Cundill
This 8 part television drama series tells the story of one family’s growing pains and hardships during the years around the 1922 Rand Strike on the Johannesburg goldmines. The Rand Rebellion (or Rand Revolt, or Second Rand Revolt) started as a strike by white mineworkers on 28 December 1921on the Witwatersrand, and became an open rebellion against the state. Subsequently the workers, who had armed themselves, took over the cities of Benoni and Brakpan, andthe Johannesburg suburbs of Fordsburg and Jeppe. The young Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) took an active part in the uprising on grounds of class struggle. The rebellion was eventually crushed by Prime Minister Jan Smuts with 20,000 troops, artillery, tanks, and bomber aircraft. The Rand Revolt was a calamity that inflicted suffering on every section of the community. It cost many lives and millions of pounds. About 200 people were killed - including many policemen, and more than 1,000 people were injured. Fifteen thousand men were put out of work and gold production slumped. In the aftermath, some of the rebels were deported and a few were executed for deeds that amounted to murder. John Garsworthy, leader of the Brakpan commando, was sentenced to death, but he was later reprieved. Four of the leaders were condemned to death and went to the gallows singing their anthem, 'The Red Flag'. Smuts was widely criticized for his severe handling of the revolt. He lost support and was defeated in the 1924 general election. This gave Hertzog's Nationalist Party and the Labour Party, supported by white urban workers, the opportunity to form a pact. The white miners were forced to accept the mine owners' terms unconditionally, and gold production again increased because of the use of a higher proportion of African labour, lower wages for whites, and new labour-saving devices which had come into operation. After this, as South Africa grew increasingly industrialized, the government came under stronger pressure to protect skilled white workers in mining and in the manufacturing industry.

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