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When the war is over by Verster, Francois

  • Story
  • Social relevance
  • Focus and style of the film

      "When the war is over" deals with the after-effects of the South African struggle against Apartheid, as experienced by survivors from the Bonteheuwel Military Wing (BMW), a militant teenage self-defense unit from the mid-1980s and a guerrilla branch of the ANC.

      Social relevance
      Focusing on two ex-activists, Gori and Marlon, this documentary reveals the scars left among what has become the country’s lost generation. Gori has become an army captain, Marlon a gang member. Both are having trouble finding a path in life: the battle against Apartheid is over, but what now? Gori: “We saw too much killing, we saw too much hatred, we saw too much blood. And we were still so young”. And now the violence continues in gang wars. Marlon: “Killing an enemy is nothing here. I would just do it, go home and sleep peacefully. Really, there’s nothing unusual about killing in Bonteheuvel. There is even a new trend: only if you’re shot in the head, it’s a good murder. This is where the expression ‘burst his cap’ comes from.”

      Focus and style of the film
      The documentary is dedicated to seven victims whose names are mentioned, to all other fallen BMW comrades and also to the mothers who accommodated the teenagers during the anti-apartheid struggle. This dedication betrays a strong commitment. Perhaps this is why the presence of the camera does not seem to affect anyone; not during the gang members’ deliberations, not when illegal shebeens are rounded up or when a woman says she is glad that her eldest brother was ‘at least just run over by a bus’. With his unadorned style, filmmaker François Verster presents an apt depiction of the hopeless life in Bonteheuvel.

    Verster, Francois
    Copyright Holder
    Beeld voor Beeld
    52 min.
    Year of release
    Afrikaans, English

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