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Secrets of the Dead: Slave Ship Mutiny

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Jan 11, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

When the Meermin set sail South Africa in 1766, the slaves mutinied and overpowered the Dutch crew, ordering the ship be sailed back to Madagascar and freedom. This film tracks the efforts of archaeologists, historians, and slave descendants to discover what happened on the Meermin, how the slaves were able to overpower their captors, and why the ship ended up wrecked on a wild, windswept beach 200 miles east of Cape Town.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by Liev Schreiber
  • Directors: Nic Young, Joe Kennedy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,033 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

This is not about Cinque and the Amistad ship. That's good as this gives proof that that was not the only slave ship mutiny. This work dealt with a slave ship travelling from Madagascar to South Africa. Most of us African Americans are of West African descent. The facts here concerned Southern Africans. I am soooo excited to learn about a chapter of Black history about which I never knew.

The documentary shows an activist, a historian, and a forensic anthropologist studying the controversy. Two were white men and one was a Black woman. The work tries to be diverse. In fact, a lot of what was mentioned here reminded me of the story behind "Mutiny on the Bounty," involving English and Samoan people.

This work said young people were preferred as slaves, rather than older ones. That surprises me as I thought I read that transatlantic slavers preferred adults over children. Parents being enslaved often saw their babies and children murdered, if I read or heard correctly. Still, other facts were the same. Slave ships were extremely hot and filthy. When slaves were sold they were checked over physically in non-humane ways. This work said that slavers often "skimmed from the top," kept some slaves to sell off the books for their own direct profit. This is similar to current illegal markets for other products.

This work made me think deeply about communication and the way things are transmitted. One of the slavers spoke a Madagascar language. The slavers threw a message in a bottle which Europeans in South Africa actually received and followed. The Africans intended to communicate with those on land by burning fires. I think Paula Gunn Allen has criticized literacy, but Europeans were able to use that tool very well in oppressing others.
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What a powerhouse story!. I saw it on PBS and just had to purchase the DVD. It is rare that stories are covered about slave rebellions beyond Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, Cinque, and Toussaint L'ouverture.
This is a great story about a slave rebellion off the coast of South Africa. Even more amazing, the slaves were imprisoned on Robben Island once they were captured! If you have not seen this documentary, by all means watch it!
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Excellent piece of history. I've passed it on to several friends to watch.
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