In 1948 following a general election the South African government passed a regime segregating black and whites known as apartheid. Nearly forty years later, Mary Manning a 21 year old check-out worker at Dunnes Stores in Henry Street in Dublin refused to register the sale of an Outspan grapefruit under a directive from her union in support of the anti-apartheid struggle. She and ten other workers who supported her action were suspended with immediate effect and so a strike ensued. Mary and her colleagues knew little or nothing about apartheid and assumed it would be a matter of days before they could return to work but the arrival on the picket line of Nimrod Sejake changed everything.
Nimrod Sejake (1920-2004) was a black South African who in the late 1950’s had emerged as a talented and militant union organiser and during the infamous Treason Trials he had shared a cell with Nelson Mandela. In order to avoid the death penalty he was forced into exile but continued his crusade against the apartheid system from outside of South Africa. His influence on the strikers and their struggle to bring about change proved to be the central turning point in their motivation for not only continuing the strike but advancing it on to the international stage.
Within months Desmond Tutu, the United Nations, Jesse Jackson, Unions from all over the world, the South African government and the South African Police all embroiled themselves on opposing sides of this dispute. We will expose how opposition to this strike came from all quarters – including the Irish government, the Catholic Church and most astonishingly the Anti-Apartheid Movement revealing the bitter rivalry that escalated between all parties as the eyes of the world shone on these strikers in their fight against apartheid.
In this documentary film we will follow two stories that will ultimately become one: the story of these Irish check-out workers and their two and a half year strike that only ended when the Irish government agreed to implement a complete ban of the import of South African goods and the story of Nimrod Sejake, the man from a township in Johannesburg whose own personal journey inspired these workers to change the face of the anti-apartheid movement around the world.

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