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Black History Month: Poppie Nongena Image

Black History Month: Poppie Nongena

Black History Month | Panorama

Based on Elsa Joubert’s acclaimed 1978 novel Die Swerfiare van Poppie Nongena (The Journey of Poppie Nongena), itself inspired by a true story, the film captures a mother’s struggle to find stability for her family in the face of oppression. Poppie Nongena, is an Afrikaans/Xhosa South African, whose life drastically changes when her husband becomes too ill to maintain his contract work. Poppie is deemed by the law to be an "illegal" resident in her own country. She engages in a desperate struggle with the authorities for permission to stay; moving from house to house, applying for permits, monthly extensions of permits, appealing through employers and social workers. In the midst of an immense upheaval in South Africa when African women were forced - by arrests, fines and forced removal - to leave their homes and resettle in remote areas designated as black homelands, Poppie’s steadfast strength revolves around her family. Her focus is firmly on the well-being and education of her children. Caught in the crossfire of her children’s needs, her husband’s illness, community anger and repressive laws, she is finally forced to give in just as the 1976 riots for freedom erupt. Poppie realizes that the time has come to hand over the baton to the next generation and to find meaning in their struggle. The story is filled with hope, tenderness and resilience, giving us a front row seat to a time in historical African subjugation we hopefully can learn from. (Nya Lewis)

"An important and powerful story, based on Elsa Joubert’s The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena one of the best African novels of the 20th Century." Steven Spling Aspeling

Director Icon Director
Christiaan Olwagen

Clementine Mosimane, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Chris Gxalaba, Nomsa Nene, Rolanda Marais
Executive Producer Sonja Roux, Jan Du Plessis, Karen Meiring, Albert Geldenhuys
Producer Helena Spring
Screenwriter Christiaan Olwagen, Saartjie Botha
Cinematographer Vicci Turpin
Editor Eva Du Preez
South Africa 2019 95 min. Afrikaans, Xhosa with English subtitles 19+ Trailer | Review | Review


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In response to the new provincial health orders, The VIFF Centre has closed the theatre and cancelled screenings until further notice.

We look forward to seeing you all back in the theatre soon, but for now stay healthy and enjoy our virtual screening options on VIFF Connect from the comfort of home.