The White Line premiers in Durban

By Jeoffrey Mukubi

THE White Line is an unconventional love story set in 1963, a mere three years after the Old Location uprising that quaked then South West Africa while under the South African apartheid regime.

Director and writer Desiree Kahikopo tells a compelling story about a white police officer who falls in love with a black maid and over time their love for each other grows through the letters they write each other. It also had a grand premiere at the 2019 Durban International Film Festival, which opened on Thursday, July 18.

Created in 1978, the Durban International Film Festival is considered the first of South Africa’s film festivals. This year, the organisers are determined to tell the story of their continent through the arts.

“We felt it was time for our African voices to be heard, for our stories to be told from our own perspective. We have been lagging behind the western world and we thought that this was the moment when we regain power. So, we want to unite as a continent to be stronger and bring the strength of the industry to the world”, said Chipo Zhou, manager of the Durban International Film Festival.

For stakeholders the platform is crucial for the growth of African storytelling.

“Festivals like the DIFF are very important in this country. Not only in this country, but also in the development of African storytelling. There are so many unpublished stories on the continent, in South Africa. And it is festivals like this that highlight our stories and make them known to the world,” said South African actress Minnie Dlamini- Jones.

Nearly 300 films from all over the world will be screened. With an estimated audience of nearly 30,000 viewers, the festival gives pride of place to African cinema, despite the lack of huge budgets.

“People are a little reluctant to believe and invest in African cinema. So, the main thing is the funding, but apart from that, we have the stories, we have the talent, it’s just access to that funding that’s the challenge for most of the people I’ve talked to”, Kahikopo noted.

She said the film should bring much wanted attention to the film industry in Namibia. “I’m hoping that it creates leverage for investors to see that we are not out here eating the money and also provide an argument for the Namibian Film Commission to get more funding from the government,” she said.

The film stars Girly Jazama, Jan-Barend Scheepers, Sunet van Wyk and Mervin Uahupirapi.