03 March 1979

South Africa

Giuseppe Stefani
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

When the Formula 1 Grand Prix, won by Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari and filmed by Giuseppe Stefani, took place on 3 March 1979 in Kyalami, South Africa was still under apartheid, the shameful policy of racial segregation imposed by the white minority on the black majority, which would only be abolished and definitively condemned more than ten years later. Despite the sanctions and boycotts, the Grand Prix takes place regularly and tourism apparently thrives, as can be seen in the excerpts from the tourist film we see before and after the race. Thus the 'traditional' tribal dances of bare-breasted women that take place in the 'reserves' - and which the local population is forced to do in order to scrape together some income - are a curiosity for the cameras and film cameras of white tourists, while the new buildings and skyscrapers represent the display of wealth only for the few. We know nothing about this trip, but beyond personal motivations, it is difficult to say what prevails in us today, i.e. whether the tourist's gaze is to be read as complicit and exemplary of the European attitude of the time, or whether the value of a filmic document that reveals an era and unwittingly becomes an image proof of the abjection of a state founded on racist foundations is to be preferred.