University of the Western Cape: UWC Documentary highlighting Oppression of the Bushman to be Screened Online

The Broken String is a documentary film that repurposes the title of a poem by Dia!kwain (aka David Hoesaar). The original poem was recited in the now extinct /Xam language which Lucy Lloyd translated into English. The film offers a sombre reflection of past and current injustices endured by the Bushmen in South Africa.

Dia!kwain formed part of the /Xam clan known as the !nussa !e (Grass People) who lived at the Katkop mountains north of Calvinia.

Dia!kwain was convicted for killing a frontier colonist – a “crime” for which he was incarcerated at Breakwater Bay in Cape Town after being found guilty of culpable homicide.

It was accepted that he acted in self-defense when a farmer, who threatened his family, was shot.

Generally, the poem is regarded as an expression of pain and emptiness following a loss. Dia!kwain’s pain and emptiness is comparable to the current pain and hurt experienced by Bushmen in South Africa.

In this film, researcher Dr Lorato Mokwena (pictured) converses with Bushmen, !Aru |’Khuisi Piet Berendse and Hans Springbok about the oppression and marginalisation of the Bushmen during and after apartheid.

The film skilfully weaves the testimonies of the two with the poem of Dia!kwain. Additionally, it treats the audience to scenic views of the Northern Cape’s highways and byways.

The first virtual screening of The Broken String takes place on 25 May 2022 at 17h00.

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