PAC leader’s son behind Boer War film

2012-03-03 18:14

The son of a Pan Africanist ­Congress (PAC) leader plays a major role in a new Afrikaans movie about the Anglo-Boer war – as the film’s co-producer.

Sallas de Jager, the scriptwriter and producer of Verraaiers ­(Traitors), said Themba Sibeko had helped obtain funding and, as ­co-producer, was making a ­valuable contribution to the ­production of the film.

Sibeko is the son of the late David Sibeko, former PAC representative at the United Nations.

A year ago, Sibeko said, he would never have imagined being involved in such a project.

But when De Jager sent him an English version of the Verraaiers script, it immediately appealed to him.

Sibeko said the story was ­universal and could just as easily have taken place in Bosnia or Spain. Verraaiers deals with the ­choices a Boer soldier had to make during the Anglo-Boer War.

Commandant Jakobus van ­Aswegen, played by Gys de ­Villiers, must decide whether to fight the English or whether, after threats about the concentration camps, he should stay with his family.

Working on an Afrikaans film “took me out of my comfort zone”, said Sibeko. It also gave him greater insight into the ­history of Afrikaans people and the development of apartheid.

Sibeko left South Africa with his parents when he was a child.

In America he worked in the film industry, but in 2000 he “came home” and is now ploughing his knowledge back into the local industry.

He was head of the Gauteng Film Office and was also involved in the award-winning film Hotel Rwanda, which was partly shot in South Africa.

He said Verraaiers would be of international quality.

Most of the team members working on it were also involved in Roepman, which was nominated for six South African Film and Television Awards.

Executive producer Piet de ­Jager said the script was inspired by Albert Blake’s book Boere­verraaiers.

Verraaiers is expected to hit South African screens in February next year.

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