It has been said that: “the road to hell is paved with good intention”

Between 1961 and 1989, in Apartheid South Africa,132 political prisoners were executed by hanging at Pretoria Central Gallows. Many were young – Solomon Mahlangu – executed in 1979, was 22 years old when hanged.All save one was black. John Harris – [no relation to the Producer / Director of this documentary] – hanged at age 27, was the only white person to be executed for fighting apartheid. A member of the clandestine “all white” African Resistance Movement [ARM], John Harris was left the “last man standing” after a nation-wide crack-down by Apartheid security police on the 4th July 1964 saw all members of ARM either detained or fleeing the country. Married to Ann – with a son only six weeks old, in a final desperate statement against Apartheid, on 24th July 1964 John Harris placed a bomb on a “Whites only” platform at the Johannesburg Station. Harris wanted to let the world and the regime know that there were white South Africans vehemently opposed to the injustices of Apartheid. With the best of intentions – in order to avoid casualties – Harris telephoned an urgent warning to two major newspaper offices and the Railway Police warning them of the bomb and instructing them to immediately clear the concourse of all commuters. In spite of Harris’ warnings the authorities did nothing to clear the station and the explosion left twenty-three injured and one dead. On 1st April 1965, at 5.30am, John Harris – aged 27 – softly singing “We shall Overcome”, was executed by hanging in Pretoria. On death row he had one final request: that “one day in a new and free South Africa, on his tombstone should be written: ‘John Harris – True Patriot’.

“True Patriot” – an intimate docu / drama feature – tells the remarkable & little-known story of the life & times of John Harris & those closest to him.

The 7 minute promo can be viewed at:

7 minute Promo


TRUE PATRIOT” earned an honorable mention Humanitarian Award Social Justice from the 2023 Indiefest.

The SAFF (South African Film Festival) Australia & New Zealand May 2024

“TRUE PATRIOT” was screened at the SAFF (South African Film Festival) Australia & New Zealand in May 2024. Below is the link to the Q&A session hosted by Dr Michael Diamond (Psychiatrist) with myself (Filmmaker) & Jane Harris (John Harris’ younger sister).

True Patriot Q&A





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