The trailer for the highly anticipated legacy film, Poppie Nongena, has been released and can now be viewed online. The film, which won twelve awards at the recent Silwerskerm Film Festival, is based on the novel The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena by Elsa Joubert. Deeply rooted in South Africa’s history, it will be released nationwide in cinemas on 31 January 2020.
Poppie Nongena tells the story of a South African isiXhosa mother whose life revolves around finding stability for her family during a period of extreme upheaval in the country when black women were forced by arrests, fines and forced removal, to leave their homes and resettle in remote areas designated as black homelands. When her husband, Stone, becomes too ill to work, Poppie is deemed by law to be an “illegal” resident in her own country.
The producer, acclaimed film maker, Helena Spring, said that the film Poppie Nongena is particularly relevant today. Although it doesn’t deal directly with gender based violence, it is about a strong South African woman in the face of adversity. “Witnessing recent protests, I was humbled by the women of South Africa, by the activists, men and women, saying, ‘Enough!’ said Spring. “It is unspeakable that a South African woman is killed every three hours, that so many women and children are forced to live in shame and fear, unprotected and vulnerable. It has to be stopped!”
Lead actress Clementine Mosimane, who was awarded the “Best Actress” trophy at the recent Silwerskerm Film Festival, feels that the film carries an important message. “We need to break the cycle of abuse by raising our children to be compassionate. This affects all of us, and we must address it at all levels. A society filled with healthy, respected women is a healthy society,” said Mosimane. Supporting actress Anna-Mart Van Der Merwe agrees. “The scourge of gender based violence screams out to us. It is time that we check in with ourselves, and the people we interact with daily. Do I embrace others as I want to be embraced?” said Van Der Merwe.
The film Poppie Nongena is a deeply personal story told from a women’s perspective. Cinematographer Vicci Turpin feels strongly about the urgency of women’s rights in South Africa. “It’s time for woman to let their voices get heard more loudly than ever before. Our bodies and minds are our own, and should not and cannot be touched indiscriminately by those who feel they are more powerful or have the right to the violence in this country.”
Helena Spring has taken a stand and committed herself to help make a difference. “In the spirit of Poppie Nongena who would do anything to protect the stability of her family, South Africans have to put an end to gender based violence in this country,” said Spring. “We need a landslide, an unstoppable landslide, that will inexorably turn the tide until women and children in this country are protected. I will be donating 10 % of the Producer’s profits from the film to organisations working to stop gender based violence in South Africa,” she confirmed.
Clementime Mosimane (Soul City, The Wild) plays the role of Poppie, alongside Anna-Mart van der Merwe (Die Storie van Klara Viljee, Kanarie), veteran Chris Gxalaba (Long walk to freedom, The Crown), Rolanda Marais (Wolwedans in die Skemer, Binnelanders), Dawid Minnaar and Lida Botha. Nomsa Nene (Broken Vows, Soul Buddyz) who played the title role to rave reviews in the international theatre production of Poppie, plays Poppie’s mother.
Award winning screenwriter and director Christiaan Olwagen’s previous work includes the critically acclaimed films, Johnny is nie dood nie, Die Seemeeu and Kanarie.
Hailed as groundbreaking, the novel was reprinted three times within its first four months of release and has since been translated into thirteen languages. It has won multiple awards worldwide.