Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Film and discussion | RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope

Nov 3 2011 - 6:45pm - 9:00pm


The Monthly Peace & Justice Film Series is presenting

RFK in the Land of Apartheid
A Ripple of Hope

, November 3, 6:45 to 9:00 PM 
Central Square Library, 45 Pearl St., Cambridge

RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope tells the almost unknown story of Senator Robert Kennedy's 1966 visit to South Africa during the worst years of Apartheid. The film follows Kennedy to the site of his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town and his encounter with Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch, the pro-Apartheid university. It powerfully evokes the connections between the American Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa.

A high point of the film is Robert Kennedy's meeting with one of the unknown giants of African history – the banned President of the African National Congress, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chief Albert Lutuli – living under house arrest in a remote rural area. The film travels with Kennedy to Soweto, South Africa’s largest black township, where he meets thousands of people and gives voice to Chief Lutuli's silenced call for a free South Africa

Using never before seen archival footage, and interviews in South Africa and the United States, filmmakers Larry Shore and Tami Gold find witness to this special moment in time through the sights and sounds of present day South Africa.

Senator Kennedy’s visit to South Africa in June 1966 remains the most important visit an American made to South Africa because it took place during the worst years of Apartheid. The architect of Apartheid, Dr. Verwoerd, was Prime Minister, while Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli and other opposition leaders were in prison on Robben Island or in exile.


Surprisingly, very few Americans know of this dramatic visit by Robert Kennedy, then the Junior Senator from New York, to South Africa from June 4th to the 9th, 1966. He was invited by NUSAS, the anti-Apartheid National Union of South African Students, to deliver its Annual Day of Affirmation Speech to be held that year at the University of Cape Town.

The speech Kennedy gave at the University of Cape Town on June 6th, 1966, is by far the best known of Senator Kennedy's South African speeches. This speech is generally considered by most historians and biographers of Robert Kennedy to be the greatest speech of his life. One paragraph in particular- the "Ripple of Hope" paragraph - remains one of the most quoted paragraphs in American politics:

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."


RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope
Thursday, November 3, 6:45 to 9:00 PM
Cambridge Square Branch Library
45 Pearl St., Central Square, Cambridge



A discussion will follow the film • Refreshments will be served
Sponsored by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Cambridge Peace Commission
For more information call 617.244.8054




Central Square Library
45 Pearl Street
Cambridge, MA
United States

By Anna - Posted on 31 October 2011

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