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Liliesleaf Farm Mayibuye: In Search of the Spectres of History

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Using double screen, the filmmaker juxtaposes her domestic family history with that of Nelson Mandela prior to his arrest. The artist considers the roles that personal and political histories play in opening up the narratives of a place.
Liliesleaf Farm, located in Rivonia South Africa, was the headquarters of the military wing of the African National Congress, (‘Umkhonto we Sizwe') in the early 1960s. Nelson Mandela lived at Liliesleaf under an alias. ‘Operation Mayibuye’ was an ANC undercover campaign of sabotage intended to bring down the apartheid government.
Ideas for the film originated with 8mm film footage and photographs of
Gaal-Holmes’ immigrant family at Liliesleaf. Her German and Hungarian parents had recently moved to settle in South Africa, and Liliesleaf became their family home for a short time in the late 1960s.
Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2016 - Experimenta Strand - World premiere


Type of film
Running Time
10 mins
8mm, 16mm
Patti Gaal-Holmes
Patti Gaal-Holmes
Patti Gaal-Holmes
Emily Barker
Archival Material
Gaál family archive and Liliesleaf Museum

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Last updated 23rd September 2016

Production Company

UK, South Africa coproduction

Supported by Arts Council England and residencies at the Hosking Houses
Trust (UK) and the Nirox Foundation (South Africa).

Itinerant Films
Patti Gaal-Holmes


c/o Itinerant Films
Patti Gaal-Holmes