April 13-14 2013, SFU Woodward’s

The 3rd annual Vancouver South African Film Festival was a huge success, with a sold out gala,  lively panel discussions, yummy South African food,  a bonus sold-out comedy event with South African comedian Nik Rabinowitz. Deputy Mayor Tony Tang was even on hand to declare April 11-16 South Africa Week in Vancouver, on behalf of Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Thanks to all our gala sponsors, our volunteers for all their hard work and dedication, and you for coming out to show your support. You helped make the 2013 VSAFF a huge success!

Gala Opening Film

Cassim is a young Muslim man working in his father’s textile store. It’s Ebrahim’s dream for Cassim to take over the shop, but Cassim has discovered a talent for stand-up comedy, and he soon finds himself in direct conflict with his father, his family and his community.

Material is a warm, funny and emotional look at the struggles of a Muslim family facing the modern world, exploring, destiny, responsibility and what family really means. The film is entirely set in the Indian enclave of Forsdburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.

If you like Bend It Like Beckham, you’ll love Material!

Praise for Material…

“Insightful and Hilarious” — Barry Ronge, Sunday Times

“Warmth and wit combine to wonderful effect.” — Peter Feldman, The Citizen

“Material for laughter!” — Jackie May, The Times

Official website
Feature film, comedy
Run Time
: 94 minutes
Writer/Director: Craig Freimond
Producers: Ronnie Apteker, Robbie Thorpe
Language: English
Rating: G

Official Selection, The World Film Festival, Montreal, 2012
Official Selection, Busan International Film Festival, 2012 

Closing Film & Canadian Premiere

Sponsored by: the South African Department of Arts and Culture

Darrell Roodt, who wrote the award-winning film Yesterday, directed Little One, which was South Africa’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards in 2012.

Little One tells the story of a six-year-old rape victim left for dead in a township near Johannesburg. She is eventually rescued by an older woman, who decides to launch her own investigation. Roodt has called it “a film for the new South Africa.”

Little One was nominated for three SAFTA awards: Best Director of a Feature Film, Best Actress in a Feature (Lindiwe Ndlovu) and Best Writing in a Feature Film (Darrell James Roodt).

“The movie’s story is told beautifully and poignantly, in a way that resembles and maybe even supersedes some of Roodt’s earlier acclaimed movies,” says producer Anton Ernst. “Ultimately it is a story of love and hope.”

Feature film, drama, 84 minutes
Writer & Director Darrel Roodt
Producer Anton Ernst
Language English, Zulu (English subtitles)
Rating: PG (theme of sexual violence)

South Africa Nominee to Academy Awards - Best Foreign Film
SAFTA Award Nomination Best Director, Best Writer, Best Actress


Hopeville tells the story of a reformed alcoholic on a mission to forge a relationship with his estranged son. When father and son arrive in the dusty town of Hopeville, they discover a mean little community where apathy, fear and suspicion are the order of the day.

Through patience, determination and above all courage, a selfless act ripples through Hopeville, inspiring residents to take action and to do what they know is right. Slowly but surely the town is transformed for the better.

Praise for Hopeville:

“A beautiful story of one man who is determined to restore the trust of his son, no matter what the consequences.”

“A restrained, dignified performance by lead actor Themba Ndaba.”

“Beautifully filmed and deftly acted.”

Official website

Feature film, drama 93 minutes
Director John Trengove
Execuitve Producer Harriet Gavshon
Writers Michelle Rowe, Roger Smith & John Trengove
Made in South Africa
Rating: G

Rose d’Or Global Television Festival, African Diaspora International Film Festival, Cascade Festival of African Films


Me, You, Mankosi explores the complexities of survival in a remote, rural African community from the perspective of three world views.  The film is a cinematographer’s triumph – it pays stunning visual homage to the Transkei and the Wild Coast. Capturing a moment in South African history that is on the verge of extinction, this is an absorbing meditation on oppression, empowerment and citizenship. It’s an insightful and poignant documentary that gives voice to three ordinary people and their extraordinary personal views on life beyond the border of mainstream awareness.

Praise for Me, You Mankosi:

“Poignant, insightful and intimate.”
“A remarkable film.”

Official website

Documentary, 76 minutes
Director Linda Hughes
Producers Linda Hughes, Michael Hughes
Made in South Africa/New Zealand
Language: English, Xhosa, Afrikaans (English subtitles)
Rating: G

preceded by… 


This edgy music video is a window to the world of current Johannesburg culture and social life.

Sponsored by: The Abel and Helen Bloch Memorial Fund


Not Cricket 2 lifts the lid on the new South Africa through the prism of sport.

This sequel to the award-winning Not Cricket: The Basil D’Oliveira Conspiracy completes a two-part 60-year history of South African politics by telling the extraordinary tragedy of Hansie Cronje, the iconic hero of South African transformation who, by taking bribes to fix international cricket matches, betrayed Mandela’s ideal.

The film features exclusive interviews with Marlon Aronstam, one of the bookmakers who corrupted him; with Cronje’s boss and controversial coach, the late Bob Woolmer - filmed just weeks before his death amid false rumours he was murdered by match fixers - as well as incredibly frank confessions from fellow test team-members, friends, mentors and most of the key opinion formers in South African cricket.

Provocative and thoughtful, Not Cricket 2 not only exposes the underside of South African sport, it explores important universal questions about motive, morality and ethics.

Runtime 58 minutes
Director and producer Paul Yule
Executive producer Roy Ackerman
Rating: G

Followed by…


In 1953, the young English priest Trevor Huddlestone, who was working in South Africa at the time, sent a letter to a group of socially committed Christians in London, united in Christian Action, with a request for financial support for family members of people who were fighting apartheid.

The request was granted and eight hundred pounds was transferred. This was the beginning of the British Defence and Aid Fund — from 1965 the word ‘British’ was replaced by ‘International’ — which in 40 years of apartheid managed to channel more than one hundred million pounds into South Africa via secret routes.

In White Lies — Secret History, the people who were directly involved talk frankly for the first time about the methods of the fund. In addition, South African secret service agents describe their attempts to infiltrate the fund.

Director Paul Yule
Cinematography Sean Bobbit, Solly Mbele, Graham Smith
Narration Mark Halliley
Production Case Television and Berwick Universal Pictures
Rating: PG (theme of violence)

About director Paul Yule

Born in South Africa, his family emigrated to England when he was eight years old. After studying at Oxford University he became a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker and has made more than 30 films on six continents, specializing in feature documentaries, often on controversial political and social themes, several of which have won major prizes (including the Emmy award-winning “Damned In The USA”, and the RTS award-winning “Not Cricket” series).

In 2008, Yule returned to live in South Africa to complete a three-film 60-year history of apartheid and its consequences (“White Lies” 1994 - about the International Defence and Aid Fund; “Not Cricket - The Basil D’Oliveira Conspiracy” 2004; and “Not Cricket 2 - The Captain and the Bookmaker” 2008 - the latter two of which focus on the political history of South Africa as seen through the prism of cricket.)

In 2011 he was invited to teach at The University of Cape Town.


The decades-long battle to end apartheid – and the eventual triumph of democracy in 1994 – is, for some, receding quickly into history. Through the use of powerful archival footage and compelling interviews with those who were there, this documentary tells Mandela’s remarkable story with insight and authority. Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle is driven by the idea that even the most terrible tyranny can be overcome by reconciliation.

Perfect for those who want to know more about the building of the Rainbow Nation and a must see for those who participated in and supported the struggle.

Praise for Mandela’s Miracle:

“Mandela’s Miracle makes me wish for a political and social climate where reconciliation, not retribution is the weapon of choice.”

“Your eyes are glued to the screen because you do not want to miss a moment.”

“Anybody with even a remote interest in the dark part of South Africa’s history definitely needs to check this film out.”

“A superb documentary about a courageous leader.”
— Irvin Kershner, filmmaker

Official website

Documentary 88 minutes
Writer, Director and Producer: Michael Henry Wilson
Producer: Carole J. Wilson
Rating: PG (violence)

Best documentary, Cannes Independent Film Festival 2011
Best Documentary, Hollywood Film Festival 2010
Global Impact Award, Conscious Life Film Festival 2011
Master of Modern Cinema, Santa Rosa Film Festival 2011

Sponsored by: the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation

Tracks Across Sand offers a unique chance to travel to the edge of the Kalahari, to a struggle for indigenous rights, and into the heart of contemporary South Africa. Driven from their lands, forced into a life of destitution, and denied the right even to speak their own languages, the ‡ Khomani San fight for their heritage.

Seen through the eyes and told in the words of the ‡ Khomani San themselves, TRACKS chronicles the struggle for indigenous rights by a people who are defying a history that has attempted and failed to make them disappear.

The ‡ Khomani San of South Africa speak for themselves; and they also speak for the many, many people like them, who are struggling to have their voices heard and their human rights recognized. TRACKS ACROSS SAND is above all a record of a remarkable time and remarkable people – and may be the only record anywhere in the world of a land claim over such a span of time, from dream to retrospect ten years after settlement.

Run time:
 84 minutes (2 parts)
Directed by Hugh Brody
Edited by Haida Paul
Produced by Betsy Carson
Made in: South Africa & Canada
Language: English, San
Rating: G (nudity)

followed by a panel discussion on South African and First Nations land claims

North American Premiere

When Mark Rossiter’s family left South Africa in 1986, roughly a million African women worked for white people and often became surrogate members of their families. White children came to form intimate emotional attachments to women who were considered inferior by white society.

Mark’s nanny, Susan, was significant and anonymous at the same time. Now Mark returns to South Africa, determined to find the woman who brought him up in his first 10 years. He wants to find out what has happened to her in the new South Africa, and to reconcile his own childhood memories of growing up under apartheid.

Armed with just a 25-year-old photograph and Susan’s first name, Mark embarks on a journey that takes him from the comfort of the predominantly white suburbs to the poverty-ridden townships to discover what life was, and is, like for black women working as servants in white homes.

U.K. praise for White Boy, Black Nanny:

“A moving journey that sheds light on the post-apartheid nation” (Mail on Sunday)

“Unsettling and revealing” (Radio Times)

“Surprising and touching. 5 stars” (Daily Telegraph)

Documentary, 45 minutes
Director Mark Rossiter
Made in South Africa/UK
Language: English
Rating: PG (violence)

Screened on Channel 4 UK, Cape Winelands Film Festival 2011 and Kwazulu Natal African Film Festival 2011

followed by…


Journey to Nyae Nyae is the story of N!Xau, the Bushman hero of the most successful African film ever made, THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY. “Discovered” by South African director Jamie Uys, N!Xau was catapulted into international fame when he was turned into a romantic Kalahari hunter. Uys insisted that this was the life that N!Xau actually led, when in fact he had been a school cook, and never in his life subsisted from hunting. Director Daniel Riesenfeld tracked N!Xau to his home community in the Kalahari, where he was living in obscurity, and recorded what would tragically be the last weeks of his life.

“A poignant portrait.”

Run time: 25 mins
Director: Daniel Riesenfeld
Producer: Daniel Riesenfeld
Rating: G (nudity)

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