Fiela se Kind directed by Brett Michael Innes


Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen


REMEMBER me, my child, and I will remember you. Fiela Komoetie (Zenobia Kloppers) lets her foundling child Benjamin (Luca Bornman) go. Photograph courtesy artslink.

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VERY RARELY DO you get a coming together of narrative values that are not only sensitive to the text that they honour, but also have the maturity and sense of purpose to create a filmic product that stands on its own creative feet. This is what happens in the remake of the film of Dalene Matthee’s classic Afrikaans language film, Fiela se Kind, directed by Brett Michael Innes.

The story is so well-known, it has almost fallen into legend. White foundling lands on the doorstep of brown people in a country rife with racist values. They raise him as their own. But ten years down the line, a census is held and the colonialists in charge deem this relationship inappropriate. Child is spirited away to a “suitably white” family. Only the discrepancy between white and brown values is dire: the whites are filthy. They earn…

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