American documentary producer/director Lionel Rogosin followed up his Oscar-nominated film On the Bowery (1956) with another docudrama about the disenfranchised, Come Back Africa. Lensed for the most part in Johannesburg, the film follows a Zulu family that has been uprooted from its native environs and plunked down in the middle of a strange urban jungle.
Due to the repressiveness of the South African powers-that-were, Rogosin was forced to shoot his film with hidden cameras, then obliged to smuggle the footage out of the continent.
The finished film, which depicts its protagonists as being the helpless pawns of a white bureaucracy, was condemned as radical propaganda in many landed-gentry circles, especially the coal-mining interests (the main character is worked in the mines until he drops).
Conditions may have improved in Johannesburg since Come Back Africa was first released, but the human-rights abuses depicted herein persist elsewhere, making this 35-year-old film as contemporary as today's newspaper.