The Best South African Movies to Watch on Netflix

If you are in the mood for an international film, there are few good South African movies on streaming services. Cinema of South Africa is bustling and her films are being picked on international streaming services. However, the availability will sometimes depend on your region. From Catching Feelings to You Laugh But It’s True, we’ve compiled this list of the best South African movies you can stream right away on Netflix!

You Laugh But It’s True

south african movies on netflix
Trevor Noah’s You Laugh But It’s True | © IMDB

This 2011 movie is up close and personal, and funny fledgling South African comedian, Trevor Noah. The movie follows the amazing background to the comic genius, giving a compelling and insightful look at the evolution of the comedy scene in South AfricaYou Laugh But It’s True is an intriguing life story of Trevor Noah that is an emotionally sweeping story, but truly entertaining. Today, you can catch Trevor hosting of The Daily Show.

Catching Feelings

best african movies on netflix
Catching Feelings | Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

This 2017 movie is set in the backdrop on Johannesburg and Cape Town follows the lives of a formerly-famous writer and his beautiful wife, and the events that unraveled after a celebrated and seasoned author moves into their home with them. The movie discusses love and romance from a self-indulgent and jealousy point of view. Catching Feelings is a dark romantic comedy that you should stream right away on Netflix, a real pleasure to watch.


If you do not have a South African connection beyond the landscapes and wildlife, see this 2005 movie to get an insight into the people of South Africa’s way of life. A series of six days events describe the violent and painful life of a young gang leader in Johannesburg. This is a South African box-office hit movie that showcased the intelligent, edgy and realistic side of the country. Tsotsi is a powerful cinema, a moving experience of South African sight, sound and performance.


Shadow is a television show that’s not exactly groundbreaking, but a modernized version of vigilante TV. Cult fans have compared this show to other television series such as Spencer for Hire and the Equalizer. The series is a regular feature on Netflix and takes viewers on a journey for pursuit of justice for the powerless by an ex-cop.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Starring Idris ElbaMandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is a moving cinematic true story of the fall of apartheid and the rise of a global icon, Nelson Mandela. This 2013 South African biographical film is a must-see movie about a magnificent film about a one of the great figures of our time.

Shepherds and Butchers

african movies on netflix
Shepherds and Butchers | Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

Shepherds and Butchers is a 2016 South African film directed by Oliver Schmitz. Set in apartheid era South Africa, this compelling courtroom drama follows a lawyer who takes on a case of a prison guard who is traumatized by the executions he’s witnessed. The movie is brutal and sensitive, emotional and thought-provoking film bringing attention to the debate on South Africa’s capital punishment system.


Best South African Movies on Netflix
Ayanda and the Mechanic | Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

This 2015 movie Ayanda, also known as Ayanda and the Mechanic, describes the struggle of a young designer, Ayanda, who tries to navigate path for herself. She struggles to adapt and overcome the gender stereotypes in the culture and tries to figure her own identity out. But also, trying to keep the memory of her father alive. A must-see South African movie that is insightful in today’s equality and feminism movement.

Soccer City

best south african movies on netflix
Photo: Courtesy of IMDB

A documentary centred around the 2010 FIFA World Cup took South Africa and the African continent by storm, the Soccer City stadium in the heart of Soweto township was the venue for the final. The documentary discusses race, poverty, class, hope, faith, soccer and tales of the ongoing transition from apartheid South Africa within the largely misunderstood township.

We also recommend our guide to the 10 best contemporary art galleries in Johannesburg.


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