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A Dry White Season (1989) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • A white middle class South African suburbanite with no interest in politics agrees to help his black gardener find his jailed son. His investigation opens his eyes to the horrors committed by the secret police and turns him into a target.

  • Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) is a schoolteacher who always has considered himself a man of caring and justice, at least on the individual level. When his gardener, Stanley's (Zakes Mokae's) son, Jonathan (Bekhithemba Mpofu), is brutally beaten up by the Police at a demonstration by black school children, he gradually begins to realize his own society is built on a pillar of injustice and exploitation.

  • Caucasian Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) was born in South Africa, marries Susan (Janet Suzman), has a son, Johan (Rowen Elmes), and teaches to earn a living. During the 1980s, the government declares a state of emergency, arrests and tortures tens of thousands of black residents, even as young as eleven-years-old. One of them, Jonathan (Bekhithemba Mpofu), who happens to be the son of his gardener, Stanley (Zakes Mokae), is arrested and subsequently killed by the Police while allegedly trying to escape. This sudden death arouses his suspicions, he decides to probe into this matter and ensure that no one gets away with murder. Little does he realize that soon he will be labelled a "traitor" by people of his own race.


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