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SATURDAY PROFILE | Oscar nominated SA director René van Rooyen: ‘My mother tongue gave me competitive edge’

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René van Rooyen (supplied)
René van Rooyen (supplied)

South African director René van Rooyen, whose film 'Toorbos' has just been selected as South Africa's entry for the Oscars, says part of the reason she decided to film in her mother tongue Afrikaans was so that she could compete internationally. She speaks to News24 about her eight-year battle to turn 'Toorbos' into a film, how pregnancy earlier on in her career would’ve set her back, and her hopes for her baby daughter. 

Fourteen years ago, a defiant 22-year-old René van Rooyen - hailing from the countryside of Paarl in the Western Cape - was on a gap year in London when she decided to write a letter to her parents informing them she was coming back to South Africa to study filmmaking. 

And this month, her dreams have finally taken flight after the film she wrote and directed 'Toorbos' was chosen to represent South Africa at the Oscars in the United States, eight years after she felt compelled to turn the book by acclaimed South African author Dalene Matthee into a film. 

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