Cry, The Beloved Country (1995)
The Film: A heart-tugger starring James Earl Jones as a Reverend and father, connecting and communicating with pro-apartheid Richard Harris while searching for his son in Johannesburg.
If It Was A World Cup Match: England against Argentina in the 2002 group stages – a remake/replay of an earlier work (the 1951 film, the 1998 defeat) which can’t top the original for quality, but is far more watchable.
The Film: Frenetic historical drama centring around the rise of the magazine Drum, which became one of South African’s most important anti-apartheid voices in the 1950s.
If It Was A World Cup Match: South Korea vs Italy in the first knock-out stage of the 2002 tournament – a gripping story of underdog triumph, and also something of a history lesson (Italy having lost to North Korea 36 years earlier).
State Of Denial (2003)
The Film: Elaine Epstein’s stern, unflinching documentary investigating the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and scrutinising government policy.
If It Was A World Cup Match: The third-place play-off between The Netherlands and Croatia at the close of the 1998 World Cup in France – it sounds, like all third-place play-offs, hugely unappealing, but the match itself is a belter.
A Dry White Season (1990)
The Film: Apartheid-era drama based on the first book in Afrikaans to be banned in South Africa, this crime thriller has Donald Sutherland’s politically awakening teacher imperilled by his resistance to the racist government.
If It Was A World Cup Match: England against Germany in the 1990 semi-finals. After two hours of high drama and a series of wrenching ups and downs, justice is abandoned and the bad guys pretty much win.
The Film: Crime biopic about flash South African police captain André Stander, who robbed banks in the 1970s while still a member of the force.
If It Was A World Cup Match: England against Argentina in the quarter finals of the 1986 competition, because the star of that match, Maradona, was also both hero and villain – he scored perhaps the most infamous goal ever with his hand to give Argentina the lead, before showing his better side in a dazzling run which tore the England defence to pieces.
The Film: A vibrant protest musical featuring anti-apartheid riots in the slums of Soweto, and starring Whoopi Goldberg.
If It Was A World Cup Match: Brazil against Holland in the 1994 tournament – never has there been a more musical celebration than the Samba stars’ arm-swinging celebration of Bebeto’s newborn child.
The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
The Film: The surprise early-eighties crossover hit, which has isolated tribesman Xi encountering Western civilisation for the first time after the surprise arrival of an empty Coke bottle.
If It Was A World Cup Match: It would be Cameroon vs Argentina in the group stage of the 1990 World Cup – the unfancied, unknown Africans dazzling the established sides and pulling off a shock victory, before making it to the quarter finals.
The Film: Slum drama about Soweto street crim Tsotsi, whose life is changed when he steals a car only to find a baby inside.
If It Was A World Cup Match: Brazil vs Portugal in the final game of the 1966 group stage – a game of attrition and horrible violence (Pelé was famously fouled by João Morais and was carried off) punctuated by moments of tender skill (Eusébio’s headed brace).
The Film: Rousing rugger-thon set during 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa which explores the clever, unifiying use President Mandela made of the tournament.
If It Was A World Cup Match: Well, it’d be the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, clearly. But as that’s against the rules, we’ll have the 2006 final between France and Italy instead: two classy but aging sides who, like director Clint Eastwood and star Morgan Freeman, come together for a solid if not searing encounter.
District 9 (2009)
The Film: Brilliantly low-key sci-fi with a political edge, which has an alien craft breaking down over South Africa and its inhabitants mistreated and herded into ghettos.
If It Was A World Cup Match: Iran against the USA in the 1998 tournament – on the surface unspectacular, but transformed into a belter thanks to fizzing political undertones.