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12 August 2010

A Country For My Daughter

A Country For My Daughter screens at the 12th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

  • 15 August 2010 – 18:00 @ The Labia on Orange, Gardens, Cape Town (followed by Q&A with Lucilla Blankenberg, director and Nonkosi Khumalo, senior researcher at AIDS Law Project & Chairperson, TAC)
  • 21 August 2010 – 17:45 @ Nu Metro, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • 28 August 2010 – 18.30 @ The Bioscope, Maponeng Precinct, Johannesburg
A Country For My Daughter (2010, 54 minutes)
A film about Women, Violence and the Law

Director: Lucilla Blankenberg
Producer: Janine Tilley

“The fact that Nana learns a song in pre-school about rape shows that we need to restructure our society. All children should be singing songs of joy and freedom not songs of fear, pain and imprisonment.” Zackie Achmat

In what seems to be a hard and unwinnable battle against sexual violence in South Africa, A Country For My Daughter showcases some legal victories and offers hope.

Among the landmark cases the film focuses on are Carmichele vs Minister of Safety and Security 2001 and Miss K vs Minister of Safety and Security 2004. Both cases not only have legally empowered women in South Africa but also inspired women and gender activists around the world.

Nonkosi Khumalo, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) chairperson, senior researcher at Section27 and Nana’s mother, who herself experienced domestic violence once, revisits the stories, places, and where possible, the women, to find out how personal experiences of horrific trauma have begun to change the way the law against rape is prosecuted in South Africa.

Some of the legal minds involved in pursuing the cases profiled who appear in the film, include Advocates Michelle O’Sullivan, Hayley Galgut and Wim Trengrove. Judge Edwin Cameron who pronounced judgment in the case of S vs Abrahams, involving the appeal of a sentence for a father who had raped his teenage daughter, underlines that while South Africa’s legal framework had improved, the big challenge remained in its implementation. “Our courts have a fairly poor track record on issues of gender violence. Too many white male judges with little understanding about the issues on hand,” states Cameron.

Nonkosi indeed counts merely seven women judges among the multitude of portraits of judges on display in a corridor of the Bloemfontein Supreme Court.

Moving and brave camera appearances by Miss K as well as the parents of raped and slain TAC member Nandipha Makeke give insight into the grief and struggle to keep the faith, as Mrs Makeke’s statement reveals: “The law is still very weak – if you don’t push for your case, charges are dropped and they tell you the docket is missing.”

What Nonkosi discovers is that only public outrage and organised protest have the power to force the authorities to provide women with the protection and justice to which they are entitled to: “Justice does not get served on a plate… You must work for it!”

In a film described by its director as the most difficult her all-woman crew have ever worked on, Nonkosi’s dynamism, anger and compassion will hopefully spur more South Africans to action rather than despair.

Community Media Trust (CMT) developed a comprehensive 60 page gender based violence training manual that is available with the film (see contact details below).

The Filmmaker

Lucilla Blankenberg has always wanted to tell stories and found documentary film to be her ideal medium. As a member of Idol Pictures she produced and directed several films about aspects of South African society including: Black People Don’t Swim, Don’t Shoot, Brothers in Arms and Through My Eyes: Blanche La Guma.

Lucilla is now Deputy-Director of a non-profit organisation specialising in media, outreach and training called Community Media Trust (CMT). She is also the director of Siyayinqoba Beat It!, the weekly educational TV show which is produced by CMT and broadcast on SABC 1.

Lucilla is committed to the reduction of gender-based violence in South Africa and uses her films as a vehicle to highlight this. A Country For My Daughter is dedicated to all women in South Africa and to their future.

Community Media Trust

Community Media Trust (CMT) is a not for profit company which has produced HIV/AIDS public health education material since 1998 under the Siyayinqoba Beat It! brand. CMT currently runs four programmes: the Siyayinqoba Beat It! television show, an Outreach project to assist with Treatment Literacy and Prevention programmes, a 21-part non-broadcast multilingual Treatment Literacy series and an archive project, housing South Africa’s largest audio visual HIV/AIDS collection.


The Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, now in its 12th year, takes place from 12-29 August 2010 in Cape Town. The festival screens documentaries from around the world with a particular focus on South African work.


A Country For My Daughter was made in association with the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa (NFVF). The filmmakers would also like to thank the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and Section 27 (formerly the Aids Law Project) for their support.


For media queries contact: Nathalie Rosa Bucher: 0768 310 434 /

For more information on the film, the producers and the accompanying gender based violence workbook contact: David McNaught: 021 788 9163 or 078 562 0566 /

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