' You can cut the flowers, but you can't stop Spring from coming.' - Pablo Neruda

Zarina Maharaj is the writer/director/narrator of the historical docudrama 'Flat 13' about the struggle against apartheid that preceded the 1964 Rivonia Trial, a film commissioned by eNCA, an English-speaking South African TV channel with a global reach.

With cinema and TV screenings in SA and across the world , the film was originally shown at several international film festivals, including the joint Berlinale/Durban Film Festival and China's Sechuan International Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Director, then distributed internationally by Off the Fence, an Amsterdam- based film company - for more click on 'Film' above.

 A graduate of the online Screenwriting course at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT), Zarina was nominated there for the prestigious Nate Wilson Student Award for Screenwriting, then successfully gained admission to a 2-week summer stint at the UKs National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Having earlier authored her award-winning memoir 'Dancing to a Different Rhythm' reviewed by the South African Nobel Laureate of Literature, Nadine Gordimer, and the revered feminist sociologist Professor Fatima Meer, as well as by Joel Joffe of the British House of Lords and several newspaper journalists - including those from The Sowetan and other dailies (see 'Memoir') - Zarina had also written, after gaining her Master's degree in Gender and Development from the UK's Sussex University, a regular newspaper opinion column for the UK's 'Independent' Group's South African nationally syndicated 'Business Report' - on the impact of gender issues on SA's social and economic development.

At this time she was also a member of the international editing collective of the global academic journal 'Feminist Review', contributing articles to it and to one of SA's socio-political journals 'Transformation', as well as to debates on gender issues with Kwazulu Natal's Professional Women’ League - see 'Publications'. Subsequently taking up a consultancy to business on women's economic empowerment, Zarina's first Master’s degree, in Mathematics from Nottingham University, also served her well in this capacity - as it previously had in the UK when she was a mathematician in the international Xerox team that developed the fax machine.

Yet, despite this wealth of work experience, she was denied opportunities in public service by the first post-Mandela ANC government, under President Mbeki, through its abuse of power in spreading viciously false allegations of corruption - using its erstwhile National Prosecuting Authority and media hacks - against her then-husband Mac Maharaj , and by association against her too, caught as she was in the political crossfire between that new post-Mandela President and Mac Maharaj , allegations which led to the Hefer Commission being set up by Mbeki. During the work of this commission Judge Hefer expressed disgust at this political persecution of the Maharaj's - see 'Abuse of Power. See also 'Shades of Difference' for late President Mandela's views during this persecution of Mac.

And for President Mandela's view on the role played by wives and mothers, including Zarina, in the struggle for freedom, see 'Struggle Days'.

Then , as at 2023, some media articles and interviews as listed under 'Abuse of Power' finally spoke to the lie of those corruption allegations, finally exonerating the Maharaj's in the court of public opinion - they had never been tried in a court of law for the 2 decades since 2003, given not a shred of evidence to substantiate those allegations touted in their trial by media could be dredged up in that entire period. Still, that persistent persecution, though agonising to the Maharaj family, had failed to crush them as intended, an abuse of power that had, in Pablo Neruda's words, '...not stopped Spring from coming' to the that family, as reflected in their work to date.

Now, as of early 2024, given ongoing corruption by certain ANC government leaders themselves - at the expense of a better life for all South Africans, notably the poor - the struggle continues for a clean and competent leadership that will deliver on the constitutional promise of a better life for all.

Let's hope the 2024 election results in such a leadership.

The Memoir

Dancing to a Different Rhythm - a memoir .. more..
Making Films

Flat 13, made for ETV .. more..