Come Back, Africa (1959): Lionel (On the Bowery) Rogosin’s Second Feature

Indie filmmaker Lionel Rogosin produced, wrote and directed Come Back, Africa, a feature combining the devices of reportage documentary and socio- political cinema.

Like Rogosin’s feature debut, On the Bowery, Come Back, Africa is based on fictional narrative. However, its characters are played by ordinary people, improvising lived experiences, enacting their own lives or those of people like them.

Zachariah, a young Zulu, departs his famine-stricken kraal to work in Johannesburg’s gold mines. He settles in one of the squalid townships, and is subjected to South Africa’s apartheid pass laws.

Zachariah cannot seek employment without a pass, and he cannot obtain a pass without employment. Meanwhile, his family is threatened with exile or imprisonment if they fail to comply with the regulations.