Review: A fearless unpacking of colonialism in Namibia

Lindo Langa
2017-07-19 16:55
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A scene from The Skulls of my People. Picture: Supplied ~

The Skulls Of My People

Directed by: Vincent Moloi

Cinematographer: Marius van Graan

4 out of 5 stars

Skulls of My People tells the story of the Ovaherero and Nama people of Namibia, who were massacred by German forces during the early twentieth century. This thought provoking documentary, competing at the 38th Durban International Film Festival, serves as a looking glass into the story of the brave Namibians who are trying to reclaim the skulls of their ancestors, removed from their homeland by the colonial German war machine.

Not knowing a single thing about the genocide in Namibia, I arrived at the screening filled with anticipation. I walked into the cinema with an empty mind, ready to be filled.

Okay, I admit there was also a tinge of hesitation. As the lights dimmed and the film began I was instantly transfixed. The stunning visuals coupled with the thoroughly engaging subject matter made for a very powerful and poignant piece.

Director Vincent Moloi manages to orientate us with the Ovaherero and Nama people well enough to imbue a sense of familiarity when we are shown their story.

The documentary fearlessly faces colonialism and boldly succeeds in giving a voice to the forgotten. Skulls of my People carries itself with a sense of reverence and does not gloss over any details.

The extent of the atrocities committed by the German troops is thoroughly investigated. There is a sort of mythic element to the events, the underdogs taking on a modern-day giant in order to right the wrongs of yesteryear. Colonialism is unpacked, investigated in an educational and unique way.

Ever since the origins of cinema, filmmakers have been pointing the camera at the things that intrigued them, teaching audiences about their reality and imparting a lesson on them. Skulls of my People does just that in a novel and engaging way.

See it in Durban on July 21 at 7.30pm at The Playhouse

• This review emanates from the Student Media Lab, a collaborative student-reporting project spearheaded by the Centre for Communication Media and Society in partnership with The Durban International Film Festival and the Centre for Creative Arts

• The views of this article reflect the opinions of the student reviewer, Lindo Langa. Langa is a socially awkward third year Afda student who really likes movies. He is moderately funny and is almost always thinking about food or sleeping

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