Genre: Documentary

Age Restriction: PG10 LV


The documentary 'Flat 13' is the story of an apartment in downtown Johannesburg which, during the late 40's to early 60's, became a hub of rebellion and resistance against apartheid's injustices because of the young people who lived there and those who hung out there. Nelson Mandela has described this flat as the place 'where the first seeds of nonracialism were sown and a wider concept of the nation came into being'.The flat first got its reputation as a nonracial social and political centre in the mid - 40's when Mandela, a fellow first year law student with Ismail Meer at Wits University, started to hang out there with other young political activists, journalists, musicians and intellectuals from across the colour and religious spectrum. Ismail Meer was the tenant of this flat in downtown Johannesburg at the time. These young people would often dance the night away and also debate their vision of a future South Africa, until the early hours of the morning. Mandela and Meer were both just 24 years old when they first met. This reputation of Flat 13 as a den of defiance scorning apartheid and its injustices continued when Kathy Kathrada later took over the place, a reputation which lasted until his sentencing to life imprisonment on Robben Island with Mandela and others in the early 60's.The flat played a significant role in bridging the divides that until then had existed between the different anti-apartheid organisations of the time, leading to the far-reaching formation of the united Congress Alliance of South Africa's oppressed peoples, an alliance which, in Mandela's words 'significantly spurred our people on their path to liberation'. 'Flat 13' uses the major political events of the 40's to the 60's to provide the context for the personal stories of a few of those who lived and hung out at that apartment, many of whom readily gave up their lives in the fight for freedom from apartheid. As such it reveals the pivotal role played by this apartment in the struggle against apartheid. Mandela, now 91 years old, is particularly concerned today that history should accurately record the significant role played by all of SA's freedom-loving people towards the final liberation of our country.