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About the film

When Johan Niemand gets called up for military service at the age of 18 in 1985 South Africa, he auditions and is accepted to the South African Defence Force Choir called the ‘Canaries’.

Against a landscape where law and religion oppress individuality, Johan and the Canaries have to survive military training and go on a nationwide tour of the country, travelling from town to town, entertaining people while also fortifying the belief in the military effort and promoting the cause of both Church and State.

On tour, Johan falls in love with a fellow choir member, and starts to question everything about himself and his world. He meets a myriad of characters; some proud of the choir efforts and others who awaken him to the realities and truth of apartheid South Africa. As Johan starts questioning his religion, patriotism, and sexuality, his emerging creativity and passion for music leads to direct conflict with his commanding officers.


Christiaan Olwagen


Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, Christiaan Olwagen


Schalk Bezuidenhout, Hannes Otto, Germandt Geldenhuys


Film Critics

“ … one of those rare gems …. laced with provocative arguments about religion, patriotism and sexuality …. one of the best South African movies in years.” Peter Feldman – The Citizen

“God and country and Culture Club all figure in [this] South African musical drama …. the film never turns preachy, wisely maintaining its focus on one young man’s awakening …” The Hollywood Reporter

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