SA Documentaries



A Child is a Child
(because of other people)
South Africa 2005 video 52min subtiles
Dir: Madoda Ncayiyana

Sun 24 / 4pm
Fri 29 / 6pm

With touching and inspirational hope, a group of children from vastly different walks of life gather at a recording studio in Durban. With death so prevalent in their society, their ultimate aim is to educate the world about the plight of orphaned children. But first, they must learn the song, and as they do so, they get to know one another. One girl lives in an orphanage, another is terrified her mother will die, while two brothers live on their own in their family house and walk two hours to school. As this achingly poignant and sensitive documentary unfolds, each child experiences another world and they learn to love, accept and respect each other’s resilience. And as they sing with gusto, the lyrics spread their new understanding of the true meaning of family, love and home.


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Archive Films

Sun 17 / 6:15pm   

Wed 10 / 6:15pm


South Africa 1967 video 27min

Dir: Sven Persson

A documentary depicting the serious and sometimes hilarious business of capturing rhinos in the Umfolozi Game Park in Kwazulu Natal, and their induction into the Kruger National Park as part of a programme in the fight to ensure their continuous existence. A young Dr. Ian Player handpicks the group that would assist him with the momentous task to catch the rhino. Amongst this group is Magquba Ntombela – a formidable Zulu chief, storyteller and game warden, whom Player met in 1952, and with whom, against tremendous odds, he formed a lifelong bond.



South Africa 1964 video 18min

Dir: Emil Nofal

Looking at white South Africans and how they spend their time in terms of work, social life, sport and sports as part of their daily lives. They also celebrate their roots in the many cultures from which they originated. These are the South Africans who enjoyed all South Africa had to offer during the sixties. You may even recognize some familiar faces from way back in their youth.



South Africa 1965 video 13min

Dir: Werner Grünbauer

A humorous depiction of events on one particular day in Mamelodi, a township in Pretoria. A great docu-drama showing the pulse of sport, work, social and family life – not forgetting a good neighbourly gossip – in a so-called township, set to pulsating pennywhistle and kwela music.

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Daddy’s Girl
South Africa 2004 Video 52min subtitles

Dir: Isa-Lee Jacobson

Sat 16 / 8:15pm
Mon 25 / 6:15pm

In 2002 in the Eastern Cape town of Queenstown, the body of a murdered woman is discovered by her daughter, Sabrina. The investigation intensifies and the spotlight, yet again, shines on what must be South Africa’s most dysfunctional family. As this shockingly fascinating documentary unfolds, we become entangled in the machinations leading to Sabrina’s matricide. The evidence is balanced with an abusive upbringing that culminates in Sabrina’s rebellious rebuttal of her mother’s racial prejudice, and leads an alienated Sabrina to seek her father’s approval. The plot sickens when the director reveals that her father is the infamous Queenstown serial killer, Louis van Schoor, who was sentenced to 20 years for seven counts of murder which, in his own words, was excusable in the "line of duty" as a security guard.


Courtesy of the Director and SABC


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Grietjie van Garies
South Africa 2004 Digital 48min

Dir: Odette Geldenhuys

Sun 24 / 6pm
Sun 31 / 4:15pm

Tues 9 / 6pm

For 60 years in the annually colourful remote wilderness of the Namaqualand region, one person has entertained family, friends and employers with her clever riddles and irreverent singing. Encompassing the history of rural South Africa, 77-year-old Grietjie Adams’ liedjies, especially Lekker Ou Jan, still made people laugh, cry and dance. After the news of her talent seeped beyond the local town of Garies, Grietjie made her first CD at the age of 76. This led to attending the KKNK Festival where she became a national legend. This is the true story of the incomparable Grietjie, as she tells it. It examines her marriage, how she lives by the Bible, her beloved community that still practices the traditional arts of reed homes, hand-milled millet, home made bonnets, a soul-reviving dance, and the rollercoaster ride of her ascent to fame.

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iHoliday eTranskei
South Africa 2005 Digital 48min
Dir: Jemima Spring & Bonganjalo Marala

Wed 20 / 6:15pm
Tues 26 / 6:15pm

Although separated by many kilometres, the Mantsingas of Gatyane, Transkei are a joyful, close-knit family. Over the years, seeking work, the eight daughters have left home for Cape Town and Johannesburg. Now all successful they are drawn back home for Christmas, laden with gifts and determined to celebrate their family. An excited anticipation hurries along the preparations as houses are painted, goats slaughtered, ancient rituals practiced, feasts provided, presents bought for their children that they have not held for a year. In this affirming and cheerful documentary, each sister’s success is due to the unselfish support of her parents and siblings. They endure the economic reality that forces them to leave home, by sharing each other’s tears, laughter and children with uncomplaining delight.


Courtesy of Griffin Films

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iKhaya Malawi
South Africa 2004 Digital 65min
Dir: Omelga Hlengiwe Mthiyane

Sat 23 / 6pm   
Fri 29 / 6:15pm


Deep within the filmmaker’s family is an unresolved conflict. A conflict she is determined to both expose and resolve. It stems from her migrant grandfather, Owen One Kamanga, who walked from Malawi to South Africa, leaving behind his first family to begin a new life in Chesterville with a second. But her uncle has thrown away his letters, and the only way to uncover the problem is to unite the two families. Accompanied by her mother, she travels north along the road that her grandfather resolutely trudged. On their arrival in Chintenche, they discover an endearing community whose stories transform their understanding of their father and grandfather. In the end, their physical and emotional search leads them to a place of joy and acceptance, and the feeling of returning home.

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Law and Freedom
South Africa 2005 Digital 96min
Dir: Zackie Achmat

Tues 26 / 6pm
Sun 31 / 4pm

Mon 8 / 5:45pm

South Africa’s law was once a tool of Apartheid. Now, our constitutional rights as dignified citizens of South Africa rest on its very foundation. This remarkable 2-part story explores, through the eyes of landmark cases, the earliest cracks in the system that ultimately transformed South Africa’s legal landscape into the one now governed by the Constitution. This inspiring historical insight begins with Mrs Khomani, whose tenacity and ensuing court-battle led to the collapse of the hated Pass laws in the 1980s. In Part One, we are guided through the revolutionary abolition of the death penalty and the decriminalisation of sodomy, as seen through the wisdom and reminisces of victims, criminals, judges, activists and lawyers. In Part Two, we join the courageous fight of the people to challenge the government and ensure that their democratic right to social justice is upheld.


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A Small Matter of Mules
South Africa 2005 video 48min subtitles

Dir: Beverley Mitchell

Mon 18 / 6:15pm   
Thurs 28 / 6:15pm

In 1889 a young man, AAS Le Fleur, reverently named die Kneg (servant of God), was dutifully looking for his father’s lost mules when he had a vision. This vision entailed resurrecting the identity and pride of the Griqua nation, and leading them into the 20th Century. Even after his death, and despite a rift that divides the clan, the community still exists. They continue to follow a strict religious regimen, undertake annual pilgrimages to Ratelgat, and live by the precepts that he outlined before his death. This fascinating documentary introduces us to the Griqua’s tradition and history through the new generation of Le Fleur leaders. Both great-grand children of die Kneg, but born on different sides of the rift, Reino and Audrey are poised on adulthood, about to adopt on the mantel their aristocratic responsibility and determined to continue the Le Fleur legacy.


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Vuwani (Awake)
South Africa 2005 Digital 52min subtitled
Dir: Rudzani Dzuguda

Fri 22 / 6pm   
Sat 30 / 6pm

Thurs 11 / 8:15pm

Living in Johannesburg, Rudzani discovers he is to be a father. Terrified of the responsibility, and feeling displaced by the ultra busy, anonymous world that surrounds him, Rudzani seeks his roots in the slower pace of rural Venda, where he is determined to question the importance of ancestral kinship. There he reintroduces himself to the Vhanyai clan, made up of a deeply traditional, culturally proud family. Three generations of Dzugudas educate him on his position within the clan. His grandmother instructs him on the considerations when naming his child, his uncles relate the family history, and his father educates him on the joys of fatherhood. Dedicating this warm exploration of identity to his unborn child, the director’s knowledge allows him to assimilate the traditional with the brave new world of modern fatherhood.

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