But the resulting script for Gandhi brought him the academy award for best original screenplay, one of eight Oscars won by that picture. Writer and director teamed up again five years later on Cry Freedom , which depicted the friendship between the journalist Donald Woods played by Kevin Kline and the South African activist Steve Biko Denzel Washington , who was killed in police custody in He was the sixth of seven children of William, a salesman, and his wife, Stella nee Daly , a sales assistant in a department store. He was educated at Southwestern high school, Detroit, where he wrote educational radio scripts that won him a scholarship sponsored by a local radio station. His education was interrupted by the war: he spent three years in the US air force, rising to the rank of second lieutenant before resuming his studies at the University of Michigan. One of his professors, the noted Shakespeare scholar GB Harrison, encouraged him to pursue a PhD at the Shakespeare Institute at Birmingham University, in the UK, where he found himself under the supervision of another literary scholar, Allardyce Nicoll.
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One morning he gets news of a police raid in the black township Crossroads that lies in Cape Town. Ken Robertson, another journalist, gave him photos of the raid and he decides to print them. Woods had trained to be a lawyer. Because of that, he hated how the police treat black people and the brutality against them. Woods also wrote about Steve Biko and his Black Consciousness. Consequentially, the next day, Dr.
Mamphela, who works with Biko in a clinic, was very angry and then she came to Woods office to spook to him about the article. After that, she arranged a meeting between them. Woods meets Steven Biko in an old church in white town. The meeting starts with woods being very uncertain and critical toured Biko. Bike drove the conversation to exchange of roles. Black doctors and black workers run the clinic, only for black people, funded poorly by black people.
Woods still think that black and whites could and should work together building the country. He wants the black to be treated like witches, as a right of another human being, not as a privilege given by Whites.
Black want to live their life as they want to, not like what white man like to. At the end of the chapter, Woods had seen how black people really live in South Africa and how they were traded. Being banned from the government, Biko wore like what other black workers wear and went to a black township with Wood.
They took a walk through the houses and streets of the black South Africans. Biko and Wood had a conversation about the detailed frighten and scurry life of a black child.
They talked about the unjust system that they suffer with. It was the first time for wood to eat with a black family. They discussed the system of the country and the history of black people and black culture.
In addition, they talked about the history in which how the white people came to South Africa and how the black people got to the bad situation they are in now. And also, he saw how strong they work together to achieve their goals. By the end of the chapter, Biko and Wood became friends.
Six weeks later Woods gives Tenjy and Mapetla, black educated man and woman, a job at his newspaper. Woods action was strange for the other employees. His speech was very convincing and powerful, all the crowd cheered. Therefore, the police capture Biko after the match. A black informer had told the police about the speech. In the police office, Captain De Wet held Biko in a chair and hit him.
Biko was anger as he defended himself. After that, two police officers throw Biko out. Biko stood tall and proud and answered all the questions amazing the attendants during the trial period. Woods helped by printing what happened in the court. After the court event, Captain De Wet and two other police officers wear masks at night went to the church that Biko built and destroyed most of the things inside it. Donald Woods was facing a problem printing the incident in his newspaper because the only witness was a black man called Dilima.
Therefore, he did not print anything. Instead, Woods went to the Minister of Police captain Kruger and speaks with him about the incident.
Woods refused to give them the name. Woods got angry because Kruger had betrayed him. One night, Woods heard some noise. The two police officers was harassing Woods black housekeeper Evalina by asking for her legal papers.
Woods poled a gun to them and kicked them from his property. The next day, the police wanted to revenge from Wood and the blacks. So, Three men kidnaped Mapetla and after a week he was ended dead. In addition, two days later, Tenjy was arrested without any charges. But, Biko and Woods did not believe that for once, so Biko demands an inquest. After all that, the judge closed the case.
So, one day he drove to speak in an meeting for black students organization. On the way, the rode was under snooping by cops. Than the car was stopped by the police. As they recognize the person is Biko the famous leader, they arrest him.
In prison, they beat him and torture him. They even asked for a doctor to look at Biko. His body was covered with bruises, his forehead and eyes was seriously injured and he was hurt on other arias of his body. The doctor recommended that Biko to be put in hospital.
The police did not want that, they did not want anyone to see him like that. So, they put him in the police hospital in Pretoria. By chapter 12, Biko died in unclear manner. After that, Woods felt sad about the lost of his friend and wanted to save his cause. He said that Biko starve himself to death.
He was buried like how heroes would be buried. They even terror other newspapers from writing like the Daily Dispatch. After that, Wood decided that the only way to fight is to travel to America. However, the government stopped him at the airport.
Two securities brought him to their office where Wood was told that he has become a banned citizen and have to stay in the country. So, after deep consideration of the fact that if he wrote this book he and his family would be in danger, he decided to escape from South Africa. Woods wife, Wendy, did not like the idea at first.
But, after a tariffing attack on her children by poisoned shirts send to them by anonyms, Wendy changed her mind on the matter and decided that their safety is much important to her. Chapter 15 and After all the attacks and threats, Wood began to think of a plan to escape the country. He dressed as a priest. From there Wood hitchhiked and began escaping. In the way, he met Father Kani, Who drove with him to a river.
As scheduled, Wood was supposed to cross the river by 1 January. However, he could not because of the wideness of the river. Therefore, he went to the edge of the river. By chapter 16, Wood met with Tami, a friend of Biko. Time gladly helped Wood and drove him to the Telle Bridge, ending their meeting with a promise to meet again in the future. Wood find himself in front of a locked gate and he had to cross the rivers, suddenly, a Land Rover stop behind him. Here, he met Moses. Moses work with the postal service, and he offered Wood a ride to Maseru.
At the passport station, Wood was nerves but he tried not to show his feeling to anyone, after that, he cross the river without any problems. He even danced a little after he crossed. He drove to Lesotho where he called his family.
He asked helm for help to enter their country. The next morning, Wood met his family after they also escaped from the country but in a different path. The United Nation helped them to gain passports and helped them to fly by a privet plane and pilot. Even though they are happy to be unharmed during this adventure, Wood felt sad as he looked at the window. He might not see his country again. Nevertheless, he is happy that his book about Biko will be published. Share this:.
Development[ edit ] Racial-demographic map of South Africa in the late s. The premise of Cry Freedom is based on the true story of Steve Biko , the charismatic South African Black Consciousness Movement leader who attempts to bring awareness to the injustice of Apartheid , and Donald Woods , the liberal white editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper who struggles to do the same after Biko is murdered. These situations resulted in his being banned in Following a violation of his banning, Biko was arrested and later killed while in police custody.
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