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Awarded film traces Maherero’s epic journey

On Wednesday, 11 March, AfricAvenir in partnership with the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, presents an Independence Special screening of “Waterberg to Waterberg. In the footsteps of Samuel Maherero”.  The film won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Namibia Theatre & Film Awards.  At the screening, filmmaker Andrew Botelle will be available for a Q-and-A session. DVDs of “Waterberg to Waterberg” will be on special sale.

In conjunction with this Windhoek screening, AfricAvenir will presents the German premiere of “Wateberg to Waterberg” in Berlin on 25. March 2015.  The film has been selected to compete in the Freedom Prize Competition at the 4th Luxor African Film Festival later this month. Botelle explained the motive behind the film. “In 2012 while hiking in the Waterberg mountains of Limpopo in South Africa I met a local landowner, Richard Wadley. Once he found out I was coming from Namibia, he proceeded to tell me a remarkable story about Samuel Maharero who, he assured me, had lived for 20 years on a farm near his in South Africa more than 100 years ago. Richard asked if I would be interested in seeing some photos of Samuel Maharero in 1906-07 in the Waterberg mountains of South Africa. My first thought was, he must have his history all muddled up, as I knew from my own reading that Samuel had fought at the battle of the Waterberg in 1904, and had somehow managed to escape to Botswana, but had died in Botswana. I had never heard anything about the OvaHerero in South Africa.” “But after being shown a book of photographs written by the Liz Hunter, I saw the images of Samuel and his Herero followers living and working on farms in the South African Waterberg. I was amazed. This was a unique piece of Namibian history happening in a foreign land. I wanted to know more. I was hooked. So I wrote a preliminary script based on the little I knew about Namibia and the piece I had been handed by Richard and Liz from South Africa. I didn’t know the larger story: How they got there and why they went.” What happened to Samuel Maherero after the battle of the Waterberg in 1904? One minute he was the most influential leader in Namibia, the next he was running for his life with a bounty on his head. Relentlessly pursued by the invading German army, his people were scattered and hunted down. Samuel and a small band of loyal followers somehow managed to escape into the Kalahari Desert.  Following in this remarkable man’s footsteps, Waterberg to Waterberg tells the history of the Herero migrations across southern Africa more than 100 years ago. A journey of a thousand miles, on horseback and by foot, from the Waterberg Mountain in Namibia to the Waterberg Mountain near Thabazimbi. A journey to find a place they could call home.  Said Botelle, “Through interviews with Herero elders living in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa today, we piece together this true story. Through colonial reports, archive films and original photos we bring to life the old world of Samuel Maharero and his nation in exile between 1904 and 1923. They may have lost most of their possessions in the war, but the Herero carried their culture inside of them, and refused to let it die. This is their story – and the story of the hero who led them. Awards.”

11 March, 18:30 at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre
Entry: N$30
Directed by:
Andrew Botelle

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