Thomas Allen Harris
Thessaloniki Doc, Africa in the Picture, Pan African, Bermuda
The story of the first wave of black South Africans who fought for freedom in exile.
After the death of his stepfather, Benjamin Pule Leinaeng, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris sets out to tell not only Leinaeng’s story, but that of his close friends and fellow freedom fighters, in total a dozen young men who grew up under apartheid, supported the African National Congress, and, eventually, had to leave their homeland to try to garner support for their cause in the international community. For his part, Leinaeng resettled in New York City, where he met Harris’ mother, and, together, created a central hub of sorts for the movement. Reflections from the surviving Mandela “disciples,” as well as Harris and his family, are combined with dramatic re-enactments and film shot by Leinaeng to trace the freedom fighters’ often surprising and sometimes dangerous activities, intimately revealing both the costs and joys of their three decades of work conducted in exile.