Schlagwort-Archive: documentary

Ubuntu in Germany Column

Südafrikanisches Englisch – eine Masala-Mischung aus einheimischen Wörtern

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

I’m tuning you the truth, bru! Wie Südafrikaner wirklich Englisch sprechen…

South Africans speak a wonderful version of English – a mixed masala of indigenous words thrown in and pronounced in only the way us South Africans can talk.

The Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ about the lifelong passion of South Africans for the lesser-known American folk singer, Rodriguez – again highlighted how special the English is, that we born and bred in SA is.

Spoken with a broad accent, we often plough ahead, not realizing that quite a few words are only familiar to those who schooled in South Africa. This hilarious clip which did the rounds on YouTube a few months ago, rounds up the typical South-Africanisms that tourists are likely to hear when visiting Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg.

© South African English -  only to be understood by the locals. (Quelle: flickr/ coda)

© South African English – only to be understood by locals. (Quelle: flickr/ coda)


Multimedia projects by Louis Vorster

Interview about multimedia design, South African photography and arts

(Editor/ Autor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

© Louis Vorster, Südafrikas bekanntester Werbefotograf

Vodacom, Nike oder The South African Airways – die südafrikanischen und ausländischen Konzerne haben bei der Beauftragung von Werbekampagnen einen Ansprechpartner: Louis Vorster. Vorster zählt zu den bekanntesten und erfolgreichsten Fotografen Südafrikas. Einst unterrichtete er Studenten im Studiengang  Multimedia Design, nun liebt er es, den Menschen in Bilder einzufangen. Seine Inspiration erhält er aus Deutschland, von den Fotografen Wolfgang Tillmans und Jürgen Telle. Vorster hält fest, dass sich in Südafrika keine homogene Fotografieszene entwickelt hat, sondern vielmehr verschiedene Stile entstanden sind. Umso trauriger ist es, dass die gegenwärtige Regierung des Landes keine Förderung der Fotografen für wichtig erachtet, obwohl diese – nachgewiesen in den USA – als eigene Wirtschaftsbranche zum BIP beisteuern kann. Die kontrovers diskutierte künstlerische Arbeit seiner schwarz-lesbischen Kollegin Zanele Muholi, die die Intimität von Frauen abbildet, verteidigt er.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German gateway to South Africa – the South African commercial portrait photographer Louis Vorster. You studied Industrial Design in Johannesburg and Cape Town. One day you switched to photography, for which reason and why photography?

Answer: In the late 90’s after I graduated in Industrial design I drifted into multimedia design and for 2 years taught multimedia design. At the university where I taught, our department shared a building with the photography department, I found myself spending more time at the photography department creating content for multimedia projects than designing the actual projects. After my two years teaching, I decided I wanted to be a professional photographer and assisted other photographers for a couple of years.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known for your expressive portraits. What does it mean for you from artistic viewpoint to photograph people?

Answer: I find it easier to express myself as a photographer when I photograph people as opposed to when I shoot landscapes or still lives, not only because people can be directed but because people move me more than other subjects, I like people.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is becoming more and more an global player in arts. However, the United States are the leading nation in photography. Is the South African government supporting their photographers by funding or connecting?

Answer: No, I think generally our goverment and individuals representing the goverment don’t understand the role or importance of photographers. Fine art, commercial  or press photographers. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You still haven´t in Germany yet. What do you think about Germany as a country and about German arts. Which impressions do you have from this nation and Germans?

Answer: This is an interesting question because my documentary work is influenced by two German photographers more than anything else, Wolfgang Tillmans and Juergen Teller. Both of them are very well known, I have looked at their work since 2001. 

Diese Diashow benötigt JavaScript.

Please note: All arts are property and under copyright licence of Louis Vorster.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You worked already for several big enterprises, like Vodacom, Nike or The South African Airways. On the one hand, you are producing portraits. On the other hand, you are capturing pictures from landscapes, music events and polaroids. Your collection „Portraits #1“ is really interesting – what is your message to the public?

Answer: Smile!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, we have interviewed Zanele Muholi, a lesbian black photographer from Durban. She told us, that photographer will be in social trouble, if they are focussing on intimacy. Does the South African society being ready for ´spunky´ arts?

Answer: South Africa is such a diverse society. Communities not only range from liberal to conservative but we also have different cultural backgrounds. Topics that may be everyday conversation in one community could be a big taboo in others. Unfortunately some people will always be blinded by the subject matter of a photograph to such an extent that they will never be able to appreciate any other value that the work may have. Artists like Zanele Muholi face challenges not always understood by us who express and present our work to more liberal (and tolerant) audiences.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which upcoming projects are you preparing?

Answer: I started shooting a documentary on violence under farm workers in the Cape winelands about a year ago, I would like to push this project a bit harder and maybe realize it in the next few months.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you like to realize?

Answer: I would like to shoot a big documentary, something I can sink my teeth into. Something important that will keep me occupied for 6 months to a year. Also. I would like to get paid for it. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Louis Vorster, portrait photographer from Cape Town in South Africa, thank you very much for this interview!

2010sdafrika-article to photographer Roger Ballen:

HIV pandemic in Soweto

Every day, 900 South Africans are dying by HIV/AIDS – An Al Jazeera Documentary

(Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Soweto (South Western Townships) was established in 1963 as a merger of 30 townships in the south-west of the South African industrial city of Johannesburg. From 1983 to 2002, Soweto was a separate city. Since 2002 Soweto is belonging in territorial view to Johannesburg. Soweto is known for the uprising in 1976 against the system of Apartheid.

According unofficial estimates more than 3.5 million people are living on 130 sq km. That means, that this part of Johannesburg is counting to the most populous area in Southern Africa. However, Soweto is challenging several problems – poverty, crime, unemployment, corruption, absent ecology and first of all the AIDS pandemic. Children are the most vulnerable victims in this dangerous society.

The Al Jazeera Channel is presenting from today an expressive documentary to the  Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, which is fighting against the  human immunodeficiency virus and trying to help babies & children with HIV. The saddest aspect is the fact that infants are inborn with the HI-Virus, transmitted by their mothers.  If these babies are keeping untreated, they will die. Every day, 900 South Africans are dying by HIV.

2010sdafrika-Artikel zum Welt-Aids-Tag 2010 – Bilanz zu Südafrika:

Interview: Film director Teboho Edkins

German-South African film director about his work and Southern Africa

(Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Teboho Edkins, born in 1980 in the United States of America, grown up in Lesotho, Germany, South Africa as well as France, is film director and following the career of his renowned father Don Edkins, one of the most famous film producers of South Africa.

In Cape Town he studied Arts and he enhanced his course of studies with post graduations in France and Germany.  Teboho Edkins documentaries are characterized by sociolcritical bias, for which he has taken several awards. In addition, he took part  at umpteen film festivals, such as FID Marseille, Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou (FESPACO), International Filmfestival Innsbruck, Vision du Reel Nyon, Tampere Short Film Festival or Berlinale.  Teboho Edkins is explaining to our South Africa web portal his job-related visions and documentaries on South Africa.


2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa, the in Berlin living filmmaker Teboho Edkins. You concentrate in your work on documentaries with sociocritical messages on South African issues. In „Ask me I’m positive“, „True Love“, or „Looking Good“ you focused your productions on HIV. What are the reasons to debate this pandemic?

Anwer: The HIV pandemic, especially in Lesotho at the time when I made my first film, Ask me I’m positive, was a monster that could simply not be ignored, it was all prevalent but at the same time invisible –not understood. Just image- Lesotho in 2004 was a county where almost 30% of the population was infected with HIV, but only a handful of people were public about their status and three of these were the protagonists in the film. There was (and still is to an extent is) such confusion and prejudice about the disease that it was the only topic I felt I could make a film about.

What helped make the film possible was that it was part of a really exciting revolutionary series of 35 films titled, STEPS for the future, on HIV by Southern African filmmakers that had been launched in 2000.

In my other film True Love, I don’t really deal with the HIV pandemic as such, but it so happens that the character in Lesotho is HIV, so its not about him being HIV positive but rather about a person that happens to be HIV positive experiencing love and sex. (That he is HIV positive is the status quo, I am trying to show how beyond having the virus one lives a normal life- and I think this is really important to understand especially in the context of Southern Africa where so many people are infected).

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In „Gangster Project 1, you are taking a new topic with regard to crime in South Africa. Are you changing your view on other social challenges?

Answer: Well I am not really a political activist, so I make films on topics that I find relevant and interesting, and that I want to explore filmically. After the HIV films for instance I made Gangster Project 1, a sort of deconstruction of a Gangster Rap video with real gangsters and then I also made Kinshasa 2.0  a short film about democracy and the internet using second life, a virtual world …

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Your new movie will be handling with crime in South Africa, too. What’s the exactly title of your newest production, when it will be come out in Germany and what it is about?

Answer: The working title of my latest film is Gangster Project . (its sort of picks up on the idea of Gangster Project 1). Briefly it is a feature length half-fiction half documentary Gangster film shot in Cape Town, South Africa.. The basic story is a young white person wanting to make a perfect gangster film, without really knowing what gangsters are, he meets various gangsters, finally casts what he believes are the perfect gangsters for his film, hangs out with them and pretty soon finds their life uninspiring and boring, the violence they commit petty and dirty so he starts to instigate acts of violence himself (all in the spirit of making his gangster film), and so paradoxically grows closer to them and understands them as people with real fears, too frightened to leave their house…

© Teboho Edkins (third one from left) with actors of his movie "Gangster Project"

We are still in the postproduction phase of this film, so it will only be properly finished, that at is colour graded, mixed etc end of November. We will then initially launch it onto the film festival circuit, including festivals in Germany and then perhaps a television station might buy it or it might show in a small cinema here and there for a short time…. its early days yet.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you would like to describe the current crime situation in South Africa?

Answer: I am not an expert on crime in South Africa but the statistics all say its one of the most violent countries in the world, has one of the highest murder rates, rape rates etc.

I do understands though that the crime is very uneven (South Africa is famous as the land of contrasts no? ) meaning that you are much, much more likely to be killed or raped if you are poor and live in a township, so the crime has to be understood geo politically, within the political apartheid context of South Africa. Which is why in my film the white boy leaves his relatively safe neighbourhood to go where the violence is and is consumed by it…

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which experience has you already done with German partners in respect of film distribution. Your documentaries are targeting explicit South African problems, so the question arises if your arts getting a good feedback by German cinemas, broadcastings and spectators?

Answer: That is an interesting question. I studied at a post grad art institution in France and did a post grad film school in Berlin so even if I made films in Southern Africa I often did it through European Institutions and funding and I would like to think that if the film is good as a film, then the location is not as important as the way one goes about making the film and the filmmaking process make it interesting beyond its location.

So in fact my films have had most of their successes and distribution at European films festivals like Oberhausen Short film festival, Visions Du Reel, Leipzig, Berlinale, Marseille etc as well as European television stations like ARTE, YLE, TV2..

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Will it be imaginable to produce one day movies from genre entertainment/ science fiction, such as your South African colleague Neill Blomkamp with District 9? These movies are very successful according to turnover, but their are losing in many cases the real message to the public. Do you agree with this opinion?

Answer: Its often true that the larger a budget a film has, the more it is controlled by the producers or the studios and leaves the director less and less control. And I don’t’ think I would ever want to make a film over which I don’t have control, even (or especially) if it’s a Slasher Zombie set in a nature reserve..

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which are your next cinematic ideas and will you shoot a film with your father Don Edkins, who is counting to one of the most famous film producers from South Africa?

Answer: In fact I am currently working on my next idea, (which is partly why I am in South Africa as I write this), but would rather keep quite about if for the moment, its still very half baked. And yes working with my father Don Edkins, – he produced my first two documentary films, was really rewarding (even if it made my mother a bit irritated that is all we would talk about, and bring the stress to the dinner table) and I would love to work make more films with him.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Teboho Edkins, thank you very much for your time to this interview!


This interview has been translated in German. For this one please click on following link:


Teboho Edkins at „Berlinale Talent Campus“:


2010sdafrika-Artikel published on