Fokofpolisiekar – Forgive them for they know what they do, the documentary about Afrikaans punk band Fokofpolisiekar, goes on national release in South Africa through Ster Kinekor Distribution on Friday, 23 October. The film was directed by Bryan Little and produced by Filipa Domingues of Cape Town-based filmmaking collective, Fly on the Wall.
The documentary follows the story of the band (Hunter Kennedy, Francois Van Coke, Johnny De Ridder, Wynand Myburgh and Jaco Venter) over four years as they forged a place for themselves and their fans in a new South Africa. In the process they challenged the stigmas and expectations placed on them by their Afrikaner heritage, the church and tradition.
In 2003 an Afrikaans punk band was a laughable idea. Many thought the name crazy; and then the music came and many were enraged – publicly protesting “die bende” (the gang) who had the strength of their own voice and the desire to question.
Through the controversy and chaos, Fokofpolisiekar rose above their detractors and initiated a change in how the media perceived them and portrayed them. Through the death threats and Christian backlash they stood tall – sentries for the right to identity, freedom of thought, and the raw and often unseemly right to express one’s own truth. They unleashed a debate in the nation’s Afrikaans community that sought finally to heal the wound or at the very least to acknowledge it.