Documentaries

Excerpts from a very small selection of documentaries.

Letters from Teddy

Screened at the Durban International Film Festival

An intimate family portrait

“In those times, in that society, it was a scandal…”

Set against the backdrop of colonial society in Aden in the 1950s, the documentary explores the emotional repercussions of an ill-fated relationship between my grandfather, Teddy, the Chief Justice of Aden, and my grandmother, Sally – and its impact on their son (my father) Tony.

Through the dynamic use of 8mm family archive footage, letters between Teddy and Sally, as well as interviews with my father, Tony, I pieced together the sad story of my paternal grandparents.   At the heart of the tale is a vindictive colonial society in Aden which tore my father’s family apart.

Tripping down Long Street

48mins

Broadcast on SABC3

Long Street is the New South Africa.  It flows through the centre of Cape Town and contains within its current – surging between the young and the old, the black and white, the African immigrants and the locals – all the hope, fear, sadness and small triumphs of a country coming to terms with its past and its fragmented present…

For the last half century, Long Street has been a bohemian hang out, where the artisans of Cape Town congregated… Only a handful remain – the affable Italian barber, Carmine Mosca, Mr Price the tailor in his chaotic, shoe-box sized shop, and Marge, the scatty masseuse from the Long Street Baths.

The film documents the last of the Long Street artisans, and looks at the urbane new culture that is taking root on Long Street.

Directed, filmed and edited by Terry.

White people also dream: The shamanic journey of a sangoma

49-minutes

When Sheila Dorje’s life fell apart, this young South African began to have disturbing dreams that wouldn’t let up. Her dreams were eventually interpreted as a calling to become a traditional healer – a sangoma.   While globally people tend to move away from traditional cultures and towards westernisation, Sheila (desperate to stop the relentless nightmares) went against the grain and entered an unfamiliar culture in her homeland. She began the rigorous training to become a sangoma and was given a Xhosa name, Nobuyile, which means “She who has returned”.

By taking us into Nobuyile’s / Sheila’s world, the documentary provides a rare, accessible and insightful look into the shamanic journey of a sangoma in the Xhosa tradition.

A captivating, thought provoking anthropological voyage into the heart of Xhosa culture.

“White people also dream: The shamanic journey of a sangoma” was selected for the 2009 Durban International Film Festival as well as The Grahamstown Arts Festival, and the Africa in Motion Film Festival in Edinburgh.