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1994 The Bloody Miracle

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. It seems hard, though, to believe the ‘Mandela miracle’ nearly didn’t happen.

What history forgets is that during the last year of Apartheid, South Africa was on the brink of catastrophe, with certain groups intent on derailing the first free elections.

Now, for the first time, those responsible for countless deaths and widespread mayhem explain how they nearly brought the country to its knees. The film reveals white right wing plans for a military coup, and uncovers a plot to kidnap Mandela and the new leaders-in-waiting and imprison them in neighbouring Angola. Meanwhile the Zulu organisation Inkatha was locked in an ever more violent power struggle with the ANC. In certain areas, this feud turned to full-scale civil war. The filmmakers speak with eyewitnesses: survivors of massacres and bombings, who still bare the physical and emotional scars of that time.

What’s more – in an exclusive interview behind bars – hit squad commander Eugene de Kock lays bare the role of the Apartheid State in undermining the transition, and the complicity of those in the highest echelons of power.

In rare interviews, former President F.W. De Klerk and current President Jacob Zuma answer questions about the extent of this State complicity.

1994 is a chilling look at how far some hard men went to thwart democracy, but how they have now made an uneasy peace with the ‘Rainbow Nation’ in their own different ways.

Featuring stunning cinematography combined with unseen archival footage, a riveting music score, and narration by Dr John Kani, this landmark documentary will change the way people remember South Africa’s so-called miracle.


Meg Rickards, Bert Haitsma


Paul Egan


Catherine Meyburgh


Mr Mallum


Best Documentary Script – The Writers Guild of South Africa

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