' You can cut the flowers, but you can't stop Spring from coming.' - Pablo Neruda
Zarina Maharaj is the writer/producer/director of the TV historical docudrama 'Flat 13', about the struggle against apartheid preceding the 1964 Rivonia Trial, a film made for eNCA, a South African TV channel with a global reach. With cinema and regular TV screenings locally, the film was also shown at several international film festivals, including the joint Durban/ Berlinale Film Festival and China's Sechuan Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Director, then distributed internationally by 'Off the Fence', an Amsterdam- based film distribution company - see '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 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, among others, the South African Nobel Laureate of Literature, Nadine Gordimer, the feminist sociologist Professor Fatima Meer and several newspaper journalists including those from The Sowetan and other dailies - see their reviews in 'Memoir' - Zarina had also written nationally-syndicated newspaper opinion columns for the UK's Independent Newspaper Group's South African daily, Business Report, on the impact of gender issues on our country's social and economic development. At this time she was a member of the international editing collective of the globally distributed journal 'Feminist Review', when she also contributed to local public debates on these issues, including in South Africa's academic journal 'Transformation' and with KZN’s Professional Women’s League, who invited her to make a keynote speech in KZN on the sociology of gender, thereafter introducing her as a consultant to business on women's economic empowerment - see 'Publications'
Prior to that, she had worked in Europe and Africa as a Mathematician in industry and academia, including in the Office of President Samora Machel of Mozambique while on secondment there from Maputo's Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, where she was a lecturer in Mathematics. Then was employed by the British Overseas Development's Technical Aid Program in Zambia, and later the UN's Preferential Trade Agreement Project based there, while simultaneously working clandestinely for the exiled ANC, having originally graduated with Masters degrees in Mathematics and the Sociology of Gender from the UK's Universities of Nottingham and Sussex respectively.
Only when her then-husband was granted indemnity from prosecution in 1990 by the apartheid government was Zarina finally able to return with their 2 young children to South Africa from Zambia. In post-apartheid SA, whilst a newspaper columnist and consultant to business on women's economic empowerment, she was appointed a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
For the late President Mandela's views on the role of wives and mothers in the struggle for freedom, including Zarina's role, see 'Struggle Days'.
For President Mandela's views on the abuse of political power relating to the false allegations of corruption to which Zarina's then-husband Mac - and she too, caught in the cross-fire - were subjected by Mac's political enemies in the ANC, allegations which remain unproven from the time they were first made in a smear campaign through false leaks to the press and for which the Maharaj's were never charged in a court of law nor made to pay any legal costs, see 'Shades of Difference' and 'Abuse of Power' , and the University of Massachusetts historian Professor Padraig O'Malley's 'Heart of Hope' website, maintained by the Centre for Memory of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
And see also the article in the Mail and Guardian 'Mac supersizes conflict in the ANC', which recounts Mac's side of the story and refers also to Zarina's fierce 'pulling no punches' in her response to those intent on bringing her family down. Her memoir 'Dancing to a Different Rhythm' also throws light on the background to this abuse of power.