South African film, Krotoa, is as remarkable and unforgettable as the historical heroine on which the story is based on.
It has already managed to conquer the hearts of international film lovers and critics, and is set to be an even bigger hit with local audiences.
The film, which has not yet been released in South Africa, has received six official selections at the International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture, World Film Awards, Artemis Women in Action Film Festival and the Nashville Film Festival.
It has also won seven sought-after awards, including an Award of Excellence at the International Film Festival for Women, Social Issues, and Zero Discrimination, a Best of Show Award at the Depth Of Field International Film Festival, a Platinum Award at the International Movie Awards, a Diamond Award at the Filmmakers World Festival, a Best of Show Award at the The IndieFEST Film Awards, an Award of Excellence Special Mention: Women Filmmakers at the Accolade Global Film Competition and a World Platinum Award at the World Woman Awards.
Women are often depicted as fragile and vulnerable. Therefore, the impact they have had on our country’s history, is seldom remembered. Society characterises heroes as being strong ‘warrior types’, who use violence, physical strength and weaponry to defend their country. But what about all the women, who had to sacrifice their lives for this nation?
Krotoa is one of these women, whose impact is often forgotten, and this motion picture is about her.
Inspired by historical fact, it tells the story of a feisty, bright, young eleven-year old girl, who is removed from her close-knit Khoi tribe to serve Jan van Riebeeck (Armand Aucamp), her uncle’s trading partner.
She is brought into the first fort, established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652. There she grows into a visionary young woman, who assimilates the Dutch language and culture so well that she rises to become an influential interpreter for Van Riebeeck, who became the first Governor of the Cape Colony.
Krotoa (Crystal Donna Roberts, Skeem, Endless River) ends up being rejected by her own Khoi people and destroyed by the Dutch, when she tries to find the middle way between the two cultures.
Written by Kaye Ann Williams and Margaret Goldsmid, the film is directed and produced by acclaimed filmmaker Roberta Durrant (Ring of Lies, Home Affairs, Montana, Izingane Zobaba, Sokhulu and Partners, Sgudi Snaysi, Going Up, Madam and Eve, and Stokvel).
“In comparison to men, very few women have been acknowledged for having an impact on South African history,” says Durrant. “During the struggle, women like Ruth First, Lillian Ngoyi, Bettie du Toit and Sophia Williams-du Bruyn stood their ground in the fight against the apartheid government.
“However, if we dig into South Africa’s rich history, we discover that there were other indigenous females – who contributed to the change and development of our great nation – even before the sisters who were involved in the struggle.
“Krotoa (or Eva – a name given to her by the Dutch) is the tragic heroine of this movie. It is not only important to tell her story because of all her great achievements, but it is also necessary to highlight that she was caught between two ways of life and constantly forced to choose between these two cultures.
“Identity, a sense of belonging and reconciliation are strong, universal themes in this powerful tale. Especially because the identity of someone, who is in between two cultures, is very relevant in any multicultural society.”
The film also stars Armand Aucamp – who is renowned for his work in Ballade vir ’n Enkeling and Die Boekklub – portrays the role of Jan van Riebeeck. Jacques Bessenger, Doen Lotz, Marcel van Heerden, Roeline Daneel, Brendon Daniels and Ernest St Clair also appear in the film.
Krotoa will be released on 4 August – during Women’s Month – and is the perfect way to celebrate the lasting impression women have had on the South African nation.
The film is produced by the SAFTA Award-winning film company, Penguin Films, in association with kykNET, the NFVF and the DTI.