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15 August 2011

Captor and Captive at The Bioscope in Johannesburg










Johan van der Mescht, a South African Army conscript was stationed on the border of Namibia when he was captured in 1978. He was held as a Prisoner of War in Sao Paulo Prison, Angola for four and a half years before being exchanged for a Russian spy, Aleksei Koslov, at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin in 1982. Danger Ashipala was a young idealist when he joined the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) military wing, to help liberate his country from colonial oppression. He was responsible for Van der Mescht’s capture. The film chronicles the first meeting between Van der Mescht and Ashipala in 2009, and explores their respective experiences. CAPTOR AND CAPTIVE is both the story of a man whose capture has taken him to hell and back and of his captor who kept him alive during the attack. Ultimately it is a story of forgiveness and redemption.
When Van der Mescht and his family returned to Namibia in December 2009 for the meeting with his captor and the filming thereof, he received a hero’s welcome. Ironically in his own country he is still regarded as a traitor who walked over to join the enemy. At its centre the story contains the universal themes of war, love, pain, betrayal and forgiveness and will appeal to a wide audience from age group 15 years to adults of all ages. The film bears testament to the reconciliation between veteran soldier enemies.


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