The documentary film MY BELOVED COUNTRY takes us back to the early 1990’s in South Africa. It is a provocative look from within at Afrikaner extremists who, in 1991, clung to the belief that they were the chosen “super race” of Africa. With the demise of white rule, many of these Boers lived in fear. Some had banded into paramilitary groups, such as Eugene Terre’Blanche’s Afrikaner Resistance Movement, which claimed wide support within the South African army and police. They were preparing for an armed showdown with the new government.
Set in South Africa, ‘My beloved country’ provides a portrait of the white supremacy movement and its believes. Although the film is dated, white supremacy is still an important ‘underground’ movement not only in South Africa but in many countries world wide, including the USA, the European Union and Russia. It would be easy to dismiss the efforts of these movements as farcical, irrelevant or outdated but they are serious and absolutely committed to bring about a tragedy, as this documentary effectively shows.
Filmed in 1991, MY BELOVED COUNTRY is an outstanding film about the frustrations of conservative whites and the way they believed former South African President De Klerk was selling out their country. It was the first documentary to penetrate the heart of the South African extreme right. Scenes of paramilitary training and shocking statements by Terre’Blanche and other Afrikaner ideologues make clear that South Africa was on the eve of what could have been a race war.
Style & Form
The film is quite well photographed, and its professionalism makes the barbarity of its subjects all the more unsettling. Director Saskia Vredeveld goes far beyond the well-known, stereotyped interviews. MY BELOVED COUNTRY is a remarkable documentary, not only because it is so well edited, but especially because Vredeveld has taken some very appalling images, showing right wing extremism in its naked form.