Sneak preview of Nguni cattle documentary


A select audience was treated to a pre-release screening of Heaven’s Herds, James Hersov’s documentary about Nguni cattle and their significance in Zulu culture, at The Venue in Melrose Arch on 27 July.

The film was screened after early evening cocktails, and was followed by a panel discussion led by journalist Rich Mkhondo. Film director and producer Hersov and Professor Phil Bonner from the University of the Witwatersrand answered the audience’s questions.

The film, a warm and richly textured exploration into the world and traditions of the Nguni people, celebrates their lives, traditions and struggles against the backdrop of their relationships with their cattle. The Southern African landscapes, people and Nguni herds are combined with the stories of a range of compelling Nguni characters, all held together by the poetic narration of sculptor and poet Professor Pitika Ntuli.

Artists Anthony Sherratt and Brennan Seward, represented by Lou Hayden, had their works on display at the event, as did vendors of Nguni artefacts including Charles Greig, Nikki Swanepoel, and members of the Gauteng Creative Arts, who are part of the Rosebank African Craft Market.

Exclusive Books also had copies of Marguerite Poland’s popular book The Abundant Herds for sale. The book, which was the inspiration for the film, includes paintings by well known South African artist Leigh Voigt.

Among the guests was Strilli Oppenheimer, who funded the film and is also an ex-breeder of Ngunis. The Oppenheimers own Leigh Voigt’s collection of paintings of the cattle. Also there were Anna Hamlin, director of the Africa Live Foundation, and Sue Greally, music composer for the film.

The release dates for Heaven’s Herds are as follows:

28 July – Cape Town, V&A Waterfront
28 July a€” Johannesburg, Rosebank Nouveau
25 August a€” Pretoria a€” Brooklyn Nouveau
25 August a€” Durban, Gateway Commercial


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