Steve McQueen's anthology film series Small Axe to broadcast in SA

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Letitia Wright in Mangrove from the Small Axe anthology.
Letitia Wright in Mangrove from the Small Axe anthology.
Photo: BBC
  • Steve McQueen's anthology film series Small Axe will broadcast on BBC Brit (DStv 120) in November.
  • The series consists of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.
  • The films tell personal stories from London's West Indian community.
  • Letitia Wright and John Boyega star in two of the films.


The highly anticipated anthology series Small Axe from Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen will be exclusively broadcast on BBC Brit (DStv 120) this November.

The series will also be available for DStv compact subscribers across sub-Saharan African and on DStv Catch Up.

The anthology comprises of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s that tell personal stories from London's West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. This title is derived from the African proverb, "If you are the big tree, we are the small axe."

Director Steve McQueen said, "I'm very excited that African audiences will have the opportunity to watch the Small Axe anthology series this year. Each of the five films tells a triumphant, yet unique Black story that I hope resonates with audiences in Africa and elsewhere around the world."

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

MORE ABOUT THE FILMS

Mangrove centres on Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), the owner of Notting Hill's Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, a lively community base for locals, intellectuals and activists. In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove time after time, making Frank and the local community take to the streets in peaceful protest in 1970. When nine men and women, including Frank and leader of the British Black Panther Movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), and activist Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby), are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicised trial ensues, leading to a hard-fought win for those fighting against discrimination

Letitia Wright as British Black Panther Movement A
Letitia Wright as British Black Panther Movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe.

Lovers Rock tells a fictional story of young love and music at a house party in 1980. Such parties took place in homes and were born out of necessity when Black Londoners were un-welcome to revel in white nightclubs. Amid the West Indian community's can-do attitude, blossomed a "Blues Party" culture, where sweethearts could dress up, pay a small admission fee, dance to romantic Reggae songs, buy beers, eat goat curry and rice and joyously celebrate life without apologies or restrictions. Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn makes her screen debut opposite the BAFTAs 2020 Rising Star award recipient Micheal Ward (Top Boy).

Michael Ward as Franklyn and Amarah-Jae St Aubyn a
Michael Ward as Franklyn and Amarah-Jae St Aubyn as Martha in Lover's Rock.

Alex Wheatle follows the true story of award-winning writer, Alex Wheatle (Sheyi Cole), from a young boy through his early adult years. Having spent his childhood in a mostly white institutional care home with no love or family, he finally finds not only a sense of community for the first time in Brixton, but his identity and ability to grow his passion for music and DJ'ing. When he is thrown in prison during the Brixton Uprising of 1981, he confronts his past and sees a path to healing.

Sheyi Cole as Alex Wheatle and Khali Best in Alex
Sheyi Cole as Alex Wheatle and Khali Best in Alex Wheatle.

Education is the coming of age story of 12-year-old Kingsley (Kenyah Sandy), who has a fascination for astronauts and rockets. When Kingsley is pulled to the headmaster's office for being disruptive in class, he discovers he's being sent to a school for those with "special needs". Distracted by working two jobs, his parents (Sharlene Whyte, Daniel Francis) are unaware of the unofficial segregation policy at play, preventing many Black children from receiving the education they deserve, until a group of West Indian women take matters into their own hands.

Kenyah Sandy as Kingsley in Education.
Kenyah Sandy as Kingsley in Education.

Red, White and Blue tells the true story of Leroy Logan (John Boyega), a young forensic scientist with a yearning to do more than his solitary laboratory work. When he sees his father assaulted by two policemen, he finds himself driven to revisiting a childhood ambition to become a police officer; an ambition borne from the naïve hope of wanting to change racist attitudes from within. Leroy must face the consequences of his father's disapproval, and the blatant racism he finds in his new role as a despised yet exemplary constable in the Metropolitan Police Force.

John Boyega as Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue.
John Boyega as Leroy Logan in Red, White and Blue.

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht

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