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RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope

Robert Kennedy

The documentary RFK in the Land of Apartheid has been called the little known story of Senator Robert Kennedy’s  visit to South Africa during the worst years of Apartheid. He went to South Africa in 1966 to speak out against the oppression and discrimination.  It was just two years before he was shot and killed in Los  Angeles that Senator Robert Kennedy gave his “Ripple of Hope”  speech  at the University of Capetown.

He said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Many historians believe this speech to have  been  the best speech of Robert Kennedy’s life.

The film made by filmmakers Larry Shore and Tami Gold uses never before seen archival footage and interviews in South Africa and the United States. The filmmakers explore the 5 day visit through the sights and sounds of present day South Africa.

Robert Kennedy’s visit gave opponents of apartheid — both black and white — hope and courage to challenge the apartheid system at a time when they felt isolated and few in the outside world knew what was happening in South Africa. The film evokes the connections between the struggle for racial equality in the United States and South Africa.

RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope airs on Thursday, November 7 at 9 p.m. on WLRN TV.