' 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), and nominated there for the prestigious Nate Wilson Student Award for Screenwriting, Zarina also successfully gained admission to a 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 Sussex University, a regular newspaper opinion column - for the UK's ' The Independent' Group's South African Business Report in its local syndicated daily newspaper 'The Star' - 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 had developed the fax machine.
Yet despite this wealth of experience she was denied opportunities in public service by the first post-Mandela ANC government through its abuse of power in spreading false allegations of corruption - using its erstwhile National Prosecuting Authority and its 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 himself and Mac Maharaj, allegations which led to that President setting up the Hefer Commission - see Abuse of Power for Judge Hefer's views on this political persecution of the Maharaj's
See also Shades of Difference for late President Mandela's supportive views on Mac relevant to this persecution. As for his view on the role played by wives and mothers, including Zarina, in the struggle for freedom, see Struggle Days.
Now , as at 2023, some media articles and interviews (listed under Abuse of Power) finally spoke to the lie of those false corruption allegations, finally exonerating the Maharaj's in the court of public opinion (they were never tried in a court of law for the 2 decades since 2003 - since there was never substance to those allegations as touted in their trial by media!!). Nevertheless that persecution had failed to crush either of them as intended by that erstwhile government and its henchmen: that abuse of power had, in Pablo Neruda's words, '...not stopped Spring from coming' to Mac or Zarina - as witnessed in his continuing, committed political/film work and in her published writings/ film-related ventures.
As of 2023, given persisting corruption by several ANC government leaders - with their sense of entitlement to self-enrichment/ financial greed 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.