The Professor

“Walking with Koos in the veld is like walking with a botanical colleague, only it's a little bit more interesting” Prof. Ben-Erik van Wyk.

Having Khoi-San ancestry Koos Paulse carries an immense amount of indigenous plant use knowledge. Professor Ben-Erik van Wyk is a renowned ethnobotanist at the University of Johannesburg who has come to visit Koos in the Suidbokkeveld. His discription of Koos as “the professor of the veld” is strongly contrasted with Koos’s painful past. This is a story about change, recognition and dignity.

Always There: Table Mountain and the People of District Six_

Duration: 24 minutes
“If you were born in District Six, you realised that you were born on the slopes of Devils Peak, and Table Mountain with all its majestic splendour was our backyard…” (Irwin Combrinck, ex-District Six resident)

Linda Fortune knows first-hand about the pain inflicted by apartheid forced removals in the 1960s. Her reflective oral life history project comprises interviews with ex-residents of District Six, and presents a litany of loss – both of community and the deep emotional bonds that she and others shared with Table Mountain.

Junaid West is one of a few young people who have subsequently moved back into the new District Six. Aware of gangsterism and drugs as a potential threat to this new community, he and his friends start to explore the history of District Six and discover the immense value that Table Mountain had for the original residents. With the mountain once again in their backyard, can the broken ties be restored to serve the District Six youth as a place of spiritual guidance and recreational value?

The Master Tracker

Duration: 15min 30sec
Director: Tim Wege
In February 2016, veteran CareTakers filmmaker, Tim Wege, went off to the Graaf Reinet area to see what happens at the SA College for Tourism’s Tracking Academy, based at the Samara Private Nature Reserve. He has now put together a short 15 minute film of his inspirational encounter with Master Tracker Pokkie Benadie, his wife Jannetta and their 8 students.

Berty's Journey Exploring Indigenous Knowledge in the Suid-Bokkeveld A participatory film

Duration: 21min 42secs
Languages: Afrikaans / English Sub-Titles
“I believe that every plant on Earth has a purpose”, says Barry Koopman to his son Berty when asked about traditional use of plants found in the veld. Berty is one of six young people traversing the Suid-Bokkeveld to visit community elders. They hope to learn about local indigenous knowledge, some of it going back to times when Khoisan people lived entirely off the productivity of Nature. To capture this wisdom, the group has decided to make a film which they will be able to use in stimulating community discussion about the value of wisdom gathered over many generations. By the end of their road-trip they find that they have made some meaningful discoveries about their heritage, and are able to articulate their hopes for the future.

XIBEJANA XA HINA Our Rhino A participatory film

Duration: 21min 56sec
Languages: English/some Tsonga
Negry is a Rhino Ambassdor (RA) in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region (K2C). She lives in Newington, a village close to Kruger National Park and the network of private game reserves that support “Big 5” tourism. It is her job, along with RAs in other villages of the region, to speak on behalf of an animal species facing extinction driven by human greed. Her compassion for two young rhino calves orphaned by poachers is palpable when she recounts the loss of her own mother at a very young age. Her story, which is intertwined with the perspectives and energetic innovations of community elder, Killion Mabunda, is communicated in a participatory film project with a group of young Rhino Ambassadors and Environmental Monitors working with K2C.

In the Age of Adaptation

Director: Laurence Dworkin
Camera: Eran Tahor
Editor: Kgomotso Molebatsi
Producers: George Davis & Laurence Dworkin
Duration: 12:54
Produced: 2012

Exploring biodiversity and natural capital in a time of climate change.

The backdrop is Durban and COP17 -- the UN Climate Change conference in December 2011. Action is the building of a unique horticultural art piece. The message is biodiversity, technology, and the human spirit. This is the "Living Beehive", a sophisticated steel structure based on the traditional Zulu beehive hut, and clad with a 3-dimensional garden of indigenous plants. It is an enchanting space for calm and creative thoughts. Some deep thinking delegates to COP17 visit the Beehive and share their perspectives on its symbolism, the value of healthy ecosystems, and human aspiration.

Stepping Stones - Through Fragmented Environments

Director:  Laurence Dworkin
Camera:  Tim Wege
Bird footage:  Carlos Francisco
Editor: Ronelle Loots
Producer: George Davis
Duration: 19 min 30sec
Produced: 2014

A city without Nature is at risk of losing its soul. For Cape Town the stakes are high.
Bongani Mnisi is a nature conservation manager with the City. Working with several high schools, he is establishing a set of “stepping stone” gardens across the Cape Flats to help birds traverse the urban environment.  By planting nectar rich species, they hope to provide nutrition for the long-billed sunbirds and sugarbirds as they move between Table Mountain National Park and conservation areas of the urban lowlands, pollinating up to 300 fynbos species as they go. Bongani views this project as a win-win convergence for education, science and conservation and is part of his MSc thesis under the mentorship of Professor Anton Pauw at the University of Stellenbosch.

The Threshold

Director: Gcobisa Silwana
Mentor Director & Camera: Karin Slater
Editor: Tonia Selley
Producers: George Davis & Laurence Dworkin
Duration: 23min
Produced: 2014

This is a short film about men, mountains, loss and ritual, set against the backdrop of life in a South African township. Lerato Kossie, who has experienced the healing power of the wilderness, leads a group of young men from his neighbourhood for a weekend in the Bainskloof mountains. In this unfamiliar environment he takes them through the process of confronting their inner fears and their search for personal strengths, using exercises of both wilderness solitude and group sharing. Botha, a member of the group who has come to know crime and violence at close quarter, also tells some of his stories. He also talks about his hopes to reform in preparation for his imminent fatherhood. This story is about nature as a lifeline for escape from the abyss of crime and violence.

Finding Balance

Director: Guy Hubbard
Producers: Laurence Dworkin & George Davis
Duration: 21min 30sec
Produced: 2013

Can big construction projects and environmental conservation coexist? Alastair Campbell thinks they can. After a number of years as the Environmental Control Officer on the building site of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, Alastair believes that to achieve ecologically sustainable development, environmentalists need to become directly and actively engaged “at the coalface”.

Dressing the Princess

Director/Camera: Carlos Francisco
Assistant Director/Sound: Buhle Ndamase
Line Producer: Prudence Cloete
Duration: 15min 47sec
Produced: 2014

Legend has it that a Khoisan Princess living on the Cape Flats in the early days of European exploration, was violated by sailors. She fled to the mountain fortress of Elephant's Eye cave and wept so much that her tears formed Princess Vlei. Today, local communities are fighting against inappropriate commercial development that threatens the natural beauty, recreational value and spiritual heritage of this traditional commonage. The story is told from the different perspectives of: Emile, a rap artist and community activist; Kelvin, a local businessman and green revolutionary; and Nikita, a youth leader and budding conservationist.

The Artist

Directed by: Laurence Dworkin & Tonia Selley
Camera: Ivan Strasburg, Tim Wege
Producer: George Davis
Duration: 18min 10sec
Produced: 2013

Ebraime Hull loves indigenous plants. At the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay he got to know them as a garden labourer. His love grew as he developed the skills to become a propagation specialist. Ebraimes’ passion for plants was amplified by his talent and ambition as an aspiring artist. He is now proud to be part of the tradition of botanical painting, which for centuries has serviced both science and the creative arts. This is the story of a young man who shares both the joy of creativity and the hard edges of daily life.

Isiphuku Kungutshani (The Grass is the Blanket)

Director/Camera: Karin Slater
Editor: Tonia Selley
Duration: 21 min
Produced: 2013

In the 1960s, Chief Sidoi had a vision of prosperity and environmental sustainability for the Mabandla community living in the grassland foothills of the southern Drakensberg. His grandson Zweli, having trained as a forester, is now taking this vision forward to build a local economy that includes commercial stock farming and plantation forestry. Added to this is the training of local youth as rangers for conservation in the remaining tracts of pristine grassland and indigenous forest. Turning to Dr Bill Bainbridge and Peter Nixon as elders in the conservation and development sector, he is ensuring that the hard won knowledge of previous generations is being built into the Mabandla blueprint for a prosperous future.

INVASION:Lessons from the prickly pear

Director: Michael Raimondo
Camera: Warren James Smart
Duration: 12min 32Sec
Produced: 2013

During the early 1900’s the Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) became a serious invasive plant across the Great Karoo, causing much harm to livestock farmers. The invasion reached its peak in the late 1930’s.
In this film, ex- farmer Brian Hobson vividly recalls his experience of the invasion, while entomologist Helmuth Zimmermann takes us on a journey across the region to show how two parasitic insects introduced in the 1940s eventually brought the Prickly Pear under control. In the meantime, Kanyisa Jama of SANBI’s Early Detection Programme looks to the future, identifying new invader cactus species escaping from nurseries and domestic gardens.

Die Hoop (English voice over version)

Director: Alan Wilcox
Camera: Sara de Gouveia
Duration: 15min 2 Sec
Produced: 2013

John Felix lives in the village of Kassiesbaai on the southern Cape coast. Like his father, his uncles and his grandfather before him, he is a small-scale fisherman. But these days the fish are scarce.
To the east, their former fishing ground at De Hoop is now a no-take zone in the form of a marine coastal reserve. Marine biologist Colin Attwood argues for the long-term value of this protected area, adding that better targeting of desirable species, and improved marketing methods, could help John and his community to restore the local fishing industry. John agrees that there is hope for sustainability.

The Buzz for Food

Director & Camera: Carlos Francisco
Duration: 16min 36 sec
Produced: 2013

Tlou Masehela, as a youngster, used to be afraid of bees. Having made his peace, he has now embarked on his PhD, doing important research into the Cape and African Honeybees’ forage needs. Working together with honeybee forage expert Martin Johannsmeier, he shows us how they are investigating the food sources used by bees throughout the year. Come spring, Tlou joins up with beekeeper Brendan Ashley Cooper to have a look at how his hives, relocated to the blossom-lands of the fruit orchards, provide the essential service of pollination that forms the fruits that we take for granted on the supermarket shelves.


Director: Laurence Dworkin
Producer: George Davis
Length: 25min 12sec

The Knersvlakte is said to take its name from the grinding sound that wagon wheels of trekking settlers made as they crossed these arid but beautiful plains of quartz gravel, into the land of first nation pastoralists and hunter-gatherers. This is a story about respectful land use, traditional tenure, conservation planning and collaborative management of natural resources.

The Manager

Director: George Davis
Camera: Karen Landsberg
Duration: 13min 51sec
Produced: 2010

Asieff Khan manages the False Bay Ecology Park, which is a tract of both municipal and conserved land in metropolitan Cape Town. A trip with him on his rounds shows the stark contradictions of urban nature: piles of rubbish cleared from the vlei; elegant flamingos wading in the settlement ponds of a major sewerage works; pristine fynbos vegetation in the Rondvlei Nature Reserve, separated from the poverty of an informal settlement by a concrete fence; and majestic vistas of water and birdlife against a backdrop of industry. We meet local people working in the park, and hear how working with nature has changed their lives.
We also meet Bernadine from the adjacent informal settlement of Vrygrond, who is anxious to educate local children about nature through her self-created library, and through connecting with the park's natural environment.

While dodging a hippo on a boat ride, Asieff reflects on the opportunities and challenges of managing an urban park.

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The Guardian

Director: Michael Raimondo
Camera: Warren J Smart
Duration: 14min 40sec

“Should one ship miss this light, they could all be destroyed”, says Tribute looking out into the night from the flashing lighthouse. She is at peace with her solitary life on the island. She reflects on lessons that she has drawn from her observations and involvement in the cycle of birth and death that she makes as both a professional conservationist with CapeNature, and as a compassionate human being. Tribute believes that it is her duty to share the passion, and “plant the seed” of conservation in other young people world-wide. It is estimated that only about 25,000 breeding pairs of the African Penguin remain in existence.

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The Corridor

Director: Brian Tilley
Camera: Tim Wege
Duration: 13min 14sec

Jennifer and Johan traverse this vast landscape to visit some of the key role players in creation of the Corridor, a bold integrated conservation initiative. Amongst the partners we meet a Sandveld potato farmer, a Working for Wetlands team clearing alien invasive plants, a fish monitoring programme in the pristine upper reaches of the Olifants River, and a local farming community at Wupperthal who are being shown conservation friendly ways of dealing with problem wild animals.
The film gives us a unique glimpse into the different components, and the enormous scale, of the corridor. But it is the people who hold the key. “The concept within the Corridor is People in Partnership to make things happen”, says Jennifer. “It’s when people start thinking differently and asking different questions, that’s what excites me”.

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