Watch Plot for Peace
- 1 hr 24 min
In the 1980s, South Africa was in the midst of apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination. The world was growing increasingly frustrated with the situation, with many countries imposing economic sanctions on South Africa. The Soviet Union, in particular, was backing anti-apartheid organizations with military support. The situation seemed bleak, and it appeared that there would be a long and bloody conflict ahead.
Enter Jean-Yves Ollivier, a French businessman with a unique set of skills and connections. Ollivier had grown up in Africa and had developed relationships with many of the continent's leaders, including the president of Gabon, Omar Bongo. Using his connections and his business acumen, Ollivier began to broker a series of secret talks between various African countries with the goal of ending apartheid in South Africa.
At the heart of Ollivier's plan was a key figure from the South African government named Niel Barnard. Barnard was head of the National Intelligence Service, and he was secretly working to end apartheid from within. Ollivier convinced Barnard to meet with various African leaders, including Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Jonas Savimbi of Angola, with the aim of negotiating an end to the conflict.
However, the situation was complicated by the fact that many of these leaders were former Marxist guerrillas who had received support from the Soviet Union. Ollivier had to navigate a delicate balance between the interests of the anti-apartheid movement and those of the Western powers that were backing the South African government. He also had to contend with the fact that some of the anti-apartheid groups were suspicious of his motives and saw him as a pawn of the establishment.
Despite these challenges, Ollivier persisted in his efforts, using his business contacts and his personal charm to win over skeptics. Along the way, he worked closely with key figures such as Winnie Mandela, the wife of Nelson Mandela, and Thabo Mbeki, a key strategist in the African National Congress.
The results of Ollivier's efforts were remarkable. In 1988, he convened a secret meeting in Dakar, Senegal, attended by representatives from various African countries and political factions. The meeting resulted in the signing of the Brazzaville Protocol, which called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, and paved the way for negotiations between the South African government and the anti-apartheid movement.
The negotiations culminated in the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the eventual dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. Ollivier's role in these events was largely unknown until the release of the documentary Plot for Peace in 2013, which tells the story of Ollivier's secret diplomacy.
The film is a fascinating look at a little-known chapter in the history of the anti-apartheid movement, and sheds light on the role that business leaders and back-channel diplomacy can play in resolving seemingly intractable conflicts. Through interviews with key figures such as Winnie Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, as well as archival footage and reenactments, the film paints a vivid picture of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to the end of apartheid.
Overall, Plot for Peace is a compelling and thought-provoking documentary that will leave viewers with a newfound appreciation for the power of diplomacy and the role that unlikely heroes can play in shaping history.
Plot for Peace is a 2014 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 24 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 75.