The sounds of happy children wafting into our home across the lawn. Safe, secure suburbia. Fun at the poolside and family picnics at the seaside. A white child in apartheid South Africa. A fool’s paradise.
Seventeen, and in the Netherlands, I am shocked out of it by the images of riots on television; by accusations of complicity in the streets of Holland. I feel ashamed. I hide my South African identity.
Guilt drives me back, to rediscover the country of my birth. To find some settlement.
But I am torn. South Africa as I knew it is fast-changing. I struggle with the loss of towns named after my Dutch forebears and with their decline; with Black people prioritised for jobs and opportunities, and the growing inequality and poverty yet still. With the crime and the grime and the corruption.
Am I bound by my past as a white South African? Does that make me fundamentally racist? Can I belong to another South Africa? Does it accept me?
I am Saskia Vredeveld. This is my cinematic journey, from Cape Town to the heart of South Africa, in search of myself.
Director: Saskia Vredeveld
Producers: Pieter van Huijstee and Marc Schwinges
Production: Pieter van Huijstee (The Netherlands) & Underdog Productions (South Africa)
Length: 76 minutes
Broadcasters: NCRV (The Netherlands) and SABC (South Africa)
A formal South African/Kingdom of The Netherlands Co-Production.
Film is an art form. Art is that unique means to venture where society shies to; to lay ourselves bare in all complexity and contradiction, so that we may know who we are. This is the integrity with which I broach my whiteness and my relationship with a South Africa that is shaking off its colonial and apartheid heritage and forging its African-ness. My film is an open and sincere processing of challenging change, but is not for exploitation by any racist, exclusivist agenda. I am committed to the embrace of all the world as one loved, human family.