• Publication date: October 17, 2010

Red Dust Red Dust

Sarah Barcant, a lawyer in New York City who grew up in South ...

Sarah Barcant, a lawyer in New York City who grew up in South Africa, returns to her childhood dwelling place to intercede for Alex Mpondo, a Black South African politician who was tortured during apartheid. Under the Truth and Reconciliation terms, the whole truth must come out. As it is, under duress Mpodo had identified one of his underground comrades, Steve Sizela. But he also confirms that he kept a much more important secret – a buried list that names some new recruits. This is still where he left it, years ago. The full truth now emerges. Dirk Hendricks, the local policeman, admits the latter was killed by his boss, Piet Muller. Also that much of the torture was carried out at a ranch rather than at the police station – thus confirming Alex's apparently false memories of a 'dirt floor' and a 'tap in the corridor. Visiting the ranch, he puts details together. Dirk admits where he buried Steve Sizela. The bones are found and dug from the ground; Mpondo decides to allow amnesty as the whole truth has been said. Muller, who denied the charges and pleaded not guilty, ironically applies for amnesty himself, infuriating members of the Black South African community. Parallel with this story is Sarah Barcant's confrontation with her own past. She was arrested as a teenager for having a black boyfriend, breaking the apartheid laws. She got out after one night, thanks to Ben Hoffman, a white lawyer who has worked all of his life against apartheid and is a strong believer in 'Truth and Reconciliation'. Sarah Barcant is there because she owes him a debt, and he is now too weak to take the case himself. He sees the outcome as positive. This movie is rated R for violent images and language.