More than 500 years ago, the first Europeans entered the southern tip of the African continent. They found a Garden of Eden and called it the “Cape of Good Hope“. But the land was not deserted. While illiterate cultures lived here, in the eyes of the Europeans they were not uncivilized men.
The differences between them are only superficial but underneath the skin, all humans share 99% of their DNA. We are a species where our history is a common one. Africa is the cradle of mankind.
However, the first white settlers felt superior over the black natives. A serious mistake. It is the beginning of great conflicts and tragedies, of which South Africa still deals with to this day.
But apart from these problems, there are positive things to report: Today, South Africa is the great example of a multi-cultural industrial nation. The vision of a ‘rainbow nation’ is the future of this earth.
Just in time for the opening of the soccer World Cup in 2010, the exciting and controversial history of South Africa will be told in three episodes. It is a story of adventurers and discoverers, and of struggles for land and power. And it is a story of longing for a better life – for blacks and whites. The films explore the question of how the South Africans have managed to break the racial barrier and extend each other’s hands – to make the “Cape of Storms” a “Land of Hope“.
1652 – 1795
The arrival of the Dutch sailing ship of Jan van Riebeeck changed South Africa. At first, Cape Town was meant to become a supply station. But the settlers got used to living on the Cape – and would remain forever.
The contact to the indigenous population is difficult. The white men feel superior to them. The first conflicts arise, and for blacks and whites tough times were ahead.
1795 – 1913
The English arrive as missionaries, then they abolish slavery. The dislike of the whites living on the Cape is strong. They embark on their legendary “Great Trek” into the interior of the country, as an escape from the British. When the first diamond is found, and later the immense gold occurrence takes place, the British interest in South Africa is unstoppable. The struggle for land and power commences.
1913 – 2010
Who owns the land? After the British and the Boers divided the land, the apartheid is invented by the first all-white elected government. Racism, violence, and oppression against the black population become law. For decades, blacks struggle against this policy endure severe humiliation, torture, and death. But in the end, they come out as the winner: the prisoners are freed, the first black president, Nelson Mandela, was elected democratically.
WRITER AND DIRECTOR: Judith Voelker CAMERA: Marc Riemer EDITOR: Mathias Meyer MUSIC: Paul Rabiger COMMISSIONING EDITOR: Beate Schlanstein (WDR), Gerolf Karwath (SWR)