Representing history through film with reference to the documentary film Captor and Captive : perspectives on a 1978 Border War incident

Jooste, Rina (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation is supplementing a documentary film entitled Captor and Captive – the story of Danger Ashipala and Johan van der Mescht (2010), referred to as Captor and Captive, with a duration of 52-minutes. The film follows the story of two soldiers caught up in the disorganized machine of war. Johan van der Mescht, a South African Defence Force (SADF) soldier was captured in 1978 by Danger Ashipala, a South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) guerilla fighting for Namibian independence. Van der Mescht was held as a prisoner of war (POW) in Angola before being exchanged for a Russian spy, Aleksei Koslov, at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin in 1982. The main focus of the dissertation is to provide an analysis of representing history through film, with reference to Captor and Captive. It explores the manner in which history can be represented through the medium of film and add value to historical text, as well as historical text adding value to film, and how the two mediums can supplement each other. In this instance, Captor and Captive was produced first and the research conducted was used to inform the dissertation. It briefly discusses the history of documentary film within South Africa; the reality of producing documentary films reflecting on Captor and Captive and the theoretical principles involved in the craft of documentary filmmaking. The dissertation further provides details of the capture of Van der Mescht and his experience as a POW in Angola, against the backdrop of the Border War that waged between 1966 and 1989 in South West Africa (SWA) and Angola. The political landscape and various forces at work within southern Africa during the period of Van der Mescht’s capture are discussed. It also provides detail of the role of Van der Mescht’s captor Ashipala, and the liberation movement SWAPO. With independence in 1990, South West Africa became Namibia and will be referred to as such for the purpose of the dissertation. Mention will be made of other POWs during the Border War, providing a brief comparative analysis of their respective experiences.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die verhandeling is aanvullend tot die dokumentêre rolprent Captor and Captive – the story of Danger Ashipala and Johan van der Mescht (2010). Die rolprent het ‘n 52- minute speeltyd, en daar word daarna verwys as Captor and Captive. Dit handel oor twee soldate wat vasgevang is in die chaos van oorlog. Johan van der Mescht, lid van die Suid Afrikaanse Weermag, is in 1978 gevange geneem deur Danger Ashipala, lid van die Namibiese bevrydingsorganisasie SWAPO. Van der Mescht is as ‘n krygsgevangene in Angola aangehou, en 1982 uitgeruil vir ‘n Russiese spioen, Aleksei Koslov. Die uitruiling het by Checkpoint Charlie in Berlyn plaasgevind. Die verhandeling gee hoofsaaklik ‘n uiteensetting van die manier waarop geskiedenis aangebied word deur die visuele rolprentmedium, met verwysing na Captor and Captive. Die wyse waarop ‘n rolprent waarde kan toevoeg tot historiese teks, en hoe historiese teks op sy beurt weer waarde kan toevoeg tot ‘n rolprent word ondersoek, asook die wyse waarop die twee mediums mekaar kan aanvul. Captor and Captive is vervaardig voor die verhandeling aangepak is, en die navorsing is gebruik ter aanvulling van die verhandeling. Verder word die agtergrond en geskiedenis van dokumentêre rolprente in Suid Afrika kortliks bespreek; die realiteite rondom die vervaardiging van dokumentêre rolprente, met verwysing na Captor and Captive, en teoretiese aspekte betrokke by die vervaardiging daarvan. Die verhandeling verskaf inligting omtrent die gevangeneming van Van der Mescht en sy ondervinding as ‘n krygsgevangene in Angola. Dit word geskets teen die agtergrond van die Grensoorlog (1966 tot 1989) in Suidwes Afrika en Angola. Die politieke omgewing en groeperinge binne Suider Afrika gedurende Van der Mescht se gevangenisskap word bespreek. Verder word inligting oor Ashipala, wat verantwoordelik was vir Van der Mescht se gevangeneming bespreek. Die bevrydingsorganisasie SWAPO, waarvan hy ‘n lid was, word ook bespreek. Suidwes Afrika verander sy naam met onafhanklikheidswording in 1990 na Namibiё, en vir die doel van die verhandeling word daar na Namibiё verwys. Daar word melding gemaak van ander krygsgevangenes gedurende die tydperk van die Grensoorlog, en ‘n vergelyking tussen die ondervindinge van die onderskeie krygsgevangenes word kortliks ondersoek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85668
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