Beautiful in Beaufort-Wes
Beaufort-Wes is a small town in the Groot Karoo, the half-desert between Cape Town and Johannesburg. One of its inhabitants is the South-African poet/song writer Gert Vlok Nel. He was born in 1963, the year the apartheid regime implemented strict censorship laws and Nelson Mandela was detained on Robben Island. Owing to his media-shy attitude and sparse but high-quality production, Vlok Nel grew into a cult figure.
Walter Stokman visited him in Beaufort-Wes, where he lives with his father, and made an appealing documentary full of wistful texts, which mainly deal with personal grief. Pa Vlok Nel recites a few of his son's poems. Accompanied by the guitar, the choir of a white secondary school sings Vlok Nel's song Rivier. The film also pays a lot of attention to the daily life in Beaufort-Wes: children playing sports, a sauntering turtle, HIV-afflicted whores, the funeral of an AIDS victim, the profession of faith by dark girls dressed in white, the hunt for and slaughter of an antelope, and the threat of violence.