11/08/2017 10:36 SAST | Updated 11/08/2017 10:36 SAST

'Whitewashed': New Krotoa Movie Is 'Insult To Heritage Of Khoisan People'

Some people are really unhappy about the depiction of the famous Khoi slave.

Photo: Uwe Jansch

Audiences are not happy about the Krotoa movie, a new South African film which sets out to depict the heroic story of the famous Khoi slave of the same name.

Critics claim that the film, recently released in local cinemas, has been whitewashed by directors and producers. The film also makes it seem like Krotoa wanted to be raped, concerned audiences say.

"The movie largely looks at Krotoa or (!Goro/gõas) through the 'White' filter-lens of an absolutely unauthentic romanticised Commander Jan van Riebeeck and adds into the mix a peculiar scenario projecting her rape by Van Riebeeck wherein it projects her as being partly to blame and wanting his carnal attention in a yes-no manner," activist Patric Tariq Mellet said on Facebook this week.

Student Winslow Schalkwyk said the film was an insult to his heritage, also on Facebook. "I have never left a movie as upset as I did when I saw Krotoa film recently. Not only were the KhoiSan portrayed as subservient and weak but the characterisation was so off putting and disparaging."

Director Sylvia Vollenhoven also got enraged on Facebook this week, saying, "Deeply traumatised by watching the #Krotoa movie, I've been unable to write a response. The rage and anger I feel must be expressed but the shock is too deep to find the right words. The abuse inflicted by this film entrenches the crime against humanity of apartheid."

There was much hype around the film's local release, after it won a staggering 8 awards at film festivals around the world, and being selected for six official selections at international film festivals around the globe including the International Film Festival for Environment, Health and Culture, World Film Awards, Artemis Women in Action Film Festival and the Nashville Film Festival.

"In comparison to men, very few women have been acknowledged for having an impact on South African history. During the struggle, women like Ruth First, Lillian Ngoyi, Bettie du Toit and Sophia Williams-du Bruyn stood their ground in the fight against the apartheid government. However, if we dig into South Africa's rich history, we discover that there were other indigenous females -- who contributed to the change and development of our great nation -- even before the sisters who were involved in the struggle," said director Roberta Durrant ahead of the film's release.

Durant has made no public acknowledgement of the upset, nor has actress Crystal Donna-Roberts, who plays Krotoa.