Books on Lionel Rogosin

A Man Possessed Come Back Africa

L. Rogosin (STE Publishers, 2004 )

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A highly readable account of what was a grueling, often dangerous encounter with apartheid society, Come Back Africa is film director, Lionel Rogosinís story about the making of this widely acclaimed film, shot in the late fifties in and around Johannesburg and most notably, Sophiatown.

This extraordinary volume of diaries kept during the preparations and filming of Come Back, Africa testifies to that passion. It reveals his inquisitive, searching mind as he tries to understand Africa going through the process of waking up. There are observations and descriptions of life and thinking in South Africa at the turn of Africaís history that should be read by anyone who wants to understand that period. ....In my humble opinion this volume of Lionelís notes and diaries stands in its importance and passion next to On the Bowery and Come Back, Africa as an equal third.

Jonas Mekas 2004

Films on Lionel Rogosin

An American in Sophiatown

Conceived and produced by Michael A. Rogosin
Directed by Earl Lloyd Ross
Co produced by Daniel Rogosin and David Andriole
A Rogosin Heritage Production., 2007 .52 mns .B&W + color
An American in Sophiatownî is more than a record of how a film was made, with the help of untutored actors and interested or committed amateurs, dredging the truth out of fearful conditions, with appalling risks of arrest and severe punishment of all concerned in the making of this docudrama. ìAn American in Sophiatownî is itself as thrilling a record as the explosive story ìCome Back Africaî tells of a people living on the edge of a precipice. It is also the gripping story of how one man, an American outsider who sought to make a difference, came to a black South African township armed only with cameras and a vision; how from the moral collapse of a system he emerged with the most powerful indictment of the apartheid regime that had ever been done.

This is an astonishingly alive portrait of a filmmaker staunchly grappling as much with an enthralling medium as with the forbidding obstacles that stood in his way; for Rogosin was confronting unknown terrors in an unknown political environment. What he came out with was a collection of unusual images, which became more than a film. For Sophiatown is dead, it was razed down by the regime to make way for a white residential suburb unashamedly named Triomph (Triumph!); but ìCome Back Africa,î through its unforgettable images, preserves for posterity the memory of what Sophiatown was like!

Lewis Nkosi