OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Director Zola Maseko became the first South African to win the top prize at Africa's premier film festival, snaring the honor on Saturday for "Drum," a film set amid the jazz clubs and bars of 1950s Johannesburg.
Maseko was awarded the Etalon d'Or de Yennenga, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, and a cash prize of 10 million CFA francs ($20,000) at the closing ceremony of the Fespaco film festival in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou.
"Drum" tells the story of the magazine of the same name aimed at black South Africans and focuses on Henry Nxumalo, an anti-apartheid campaigning journalist, played by American actor Taye Diggs.
The film is set in 1950s Sophiatown, the bohemian center of Johannesburg where apartheid melted away in busy jazz clubs.
"This is an honor for South African people, their beauty, their strength, their resilience in fighting and overcoming one of the most brutal regimes of the last century," Maseko said after getting his award.
The Etalon d'Argent de Yennenga, or second prize, went to "La Chambre Noire" ("The Black Room") by Moroccan director Hassan Benjelloun. The film tells of torture and imprisonment in 1970s Morocco.
Third prize in the feature film category was awarded to "Tasuma, le Feu" ("Tasuma"), the tale of an elderly Burkinabe soldier who fought for France and is still waiting for his pension, by director Daniel Kollo Sanou of Burkina Faso.
Twenty feature-length films from across the continent were competing for the top honors at the week-long Pan-African Cinema and Television Festival, or Fespaco.
The festival, which started in 1969, is held every two years in Ouagadougou, the dusty capital of impoverished Burkina Faso, and showcases the best work from the continent's directors.
Moroccan director Souheil Benbarka, a member of the judging panel, hailed "the exceptional diversity and quality of the films" at this year's festival.
The prizes were announced at a closing ceremony in the national football stadium in Ouagadougou, a sprawling city of wide avenues and rutted sidestreets which for a week every two years becomes the Cannes of Africa.
($1=500.0 Cfa Franc)Blurb: OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Director Zola Maseko became the first South African to win the top prize at Africa's premier film festival, snaring the honor on Saturday for "Drum," a film set amid the jazz clubs and bars of 1950s Johannesburg.