Screening – Saving Soweto

Screening Wednesday 13th May, 2009

Chris Hani Baragwanath (or Bara) Hospital in Soweto, South Africa, occupies more than 173 acres with 3,200 beds and 6,670 staff members. While “Saving Soweto” highlights many of the major health and social issues South Africa is grappling with today, namely crime, social violence and HIV/AIDS, it also draws attention to the tireless work performed by its staff, whose dedication and compassion for their patients shines through, throughout the eight episodes 

Mike Dillon, Head of Current Affairs at Al Jazeera English, and Executive Producer of the series, commented "The film-makers have gained unprecedented and exclusive access to the hospital over a period of many months. And they have succeeded in capturing the fortitude of both staff and patients as they face life-or-death situations on a daily basis, against a constant backdrop of overcrowding and acute resource shortages. The results are, I believe, unique." 

The ground-breaking content of “Saving Soweto” gives Al Jazeera viewers a window into a previously unseen and unexamined world.

Episodes 1 (“Twenty Four Hours of Trauma”) and Episode 3 (“From the Cradle to the Grave”) will be shown at the screening. 

“Twenty Four Hours of Trauma” – Cameras follow Irish doctor, Patrick MacGoey and intern Kaajal Pharboo through their 24-hour month-end shift in Bara’s overburdened Trauma Unit, where stabbings, rape and motor vehicle accident victims are standard fare. 

“From the Cradle to the Grave” – Three out of ten pregnant women have HIV in South Africa today. The Maternity Unit at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital delivers about 70 babies a day, many born with the disease and who come into the world with no say in their care or management of the disease. 


“Screened repeatedly all over the globe, talented local director Lisa Henry and her US-trained partner Shareen Anderson’s eight-part,haunting portrait of suffering humanity and courageous professionalism in a hopelessly under-resourced hospital…” – The Star

“For a directorial debut, Saving Soweto is an excellent piece of work by Henry and Anderson, a compilation of rare footage the likes of which has not been seen before.” – The Sunday Independent

“A dramatic documentary about the horrors of Soweto’s Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital has spurred overseas doctors to offer their assistance to the hospital.” – The Times

“This series of doccies proves that you don’t need bells and whistles and award-winning cinematography to capture an audience’s attention. All you need is good subject matter and a camera to roll and capture all the drama that happens in the course of any day.” –
News 24

“It is a cry to the government and all interested parties to give serious attention to the health system. Though the documentary focuses on the happenings at Bara, that hospital is only a microcosm of a national crisis in the greater health delivery system.” – Tonight

“A stab wound patient arrives at the hospital a full 10 hours after his injury occurred because the ambulance was tied up with other cases, and is told to find his own way to the x-ray department, a five-minute walk from the trauma unit. Patients often lose their way or simply disappear. ” – IOL

“In an eight-part documentary series, Al Jazeera news network is this week showing the world how ailing our health system is.” – Sowetan We will be screening episodes 1 and 3

“Saving Soweto” is an eight-part documentary series produced for Al Jazeera English by Left Hand Films and Fort Greene Filmworks. The series takes the viewer behind the scenes of the largest hospital in the world.