The Magic Garden (South Africa: 1951)


Donald Swanson

Cast list

Tommy Machaka ...
The Thief
Harriet Qubeka ...
Mrs. Sakabona
David Mukwanazi ...
Lucas Ranku (as David Mnkwanazi)
Dolly Rathebe ...
Lili Shabalala
Victor Cwayi ...
John, Lili's beau (as Victor Cwai)
Grinsell Nongauza ...
Mr. Shabalala (as Grinsell Nogauza)
Lucas Khosa ...
Isaac Wela
Linda Madikisa ...
Mrs. Wela
Jonathan Mzamo ...
George Mabuza ...
Mr. Letuli, the troubled parishioner

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Produced by

Donald Swanson ... producer

Music by

Tommy Ramokgopa
Ralph Trewhela

Cinematography by

C.M. Pennington-Richards ... (lighting cameraman)

Film Editing by

Gerald Ehrlich

Production Management

Harry N. Ebedes ... production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Eric Cordell ... assistant director

Sound Department

Ken Taylor ... sound recordist

Camera and Electrical Department

John Coquillon ... camera operator (as Johnny Coquillon)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Bessie McAuliffe ... wardrobe supervisor

Other crew

Gene Swanson ... continuity

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The film, also called The Pennywhistle Blues, is about a man who gives his life savings to a priest. However, a thief steals the money and keeps it in a hidden garden. Ironically, the garden belongs to a poor woman and when she finds the money in her garden, she uses it to pay off her grocery debts. The thief returns to the garden to take all the money that is left. He hides it in another place but another man is able to find it. He also uses this money to pay off his own debts. The money is eventually returned to the priest but it is seen how much good it has brought to the several people whose hands it passes through.


Bosley Crowther, Movie Review: The Pennywhistle Blues (1952). New York Times (online newspaper)

User Reviews, The Magic GardenInternet Movie Database (IMDb, website)

Academic Articles

‘Assignment Africa’: Donald Swanson’s Colonial Imaginary and Chisoko the African (1949) by Jacqueline Maingard. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 39, No. 3, (Sept. 2013), pp. 701-719

Other movies from South Africa made in

Title Country Year Director More infos
Song of Africa South Africa 1951 Emil Nofal
The Magic Garden South Africa 1951 Donald Swanson
Sorry, there's no movie with the same year.