This is National Wake

This Is National Wake traces the wild rise and tragic fall of a multiracial South African punk band, dubbed "the band that defied apartheid," whose members risked everything to taste freedom.


Doc 'n Roll (UK) – Nominated: Special Jury Prize: Best Film of the Year

Docs MX (Mexico) – Winner: Best Music Documentary

New Orleans Film Festival – Nominated: Special Jury Prize: Best Feature Documentary

San Francisco Indiefest – Winner: Best Feature Documentary

Sheffield Docfest – Nominated: World Premiere in Competition: Best First Feature

African Premiere
SA Premiere
Screenings – CT
V&A SK7Thu 29 June 8.30pm


Mirissa Neff


South Africa | USA



Running Time:

66 min



This Is National Wake follows the story of a multiracial punk rock band formed by Ivan Kadey, Gary Khoza and Punka Khoza. The band’s internal dynamics reflected and were interrupted by the racial tensions and political strife of the declining years of the apartheid regime. Their outlaw lifestyle, which bridged their own racial divide, is explored as a rebellion of the restrictions of repressive racial laws. Musically, the documentary immerses the liberatory philosophy of the band, providing relief and revelry to diverse audiences in Johannesburg’s urban and township venues. But an internal tragedy brewed beneath their exciting show-stopping musical current.

All screenings to be followed by a Q&A featuring Director Mirissa Neff, Co-Producer Nadine Kadey and National Wake’s Ivan Kadey (except in Cape Town where only Nadine and Ivan Kadey will be present for the Q&A).

Previous Festivals

Sheffield Docfest (2022)


Powerfully resonant
— The Independent (UK)
Think the Clash were rebels? Meet National Wake.
— The Guardian (UK)
One of the most anticipated music documentaries of the year.
— Deadline
Electrifying… a powerful excavation of South Africa’s rich musical past.
— Africa is a Country