Fatherland is a controversial coming-of-age documentary set in the remote South African bush. It follows a group of Afrikaner boys over 9 days at a military camp in the spirit of their fathers before them.
“You’ve got these millions and millions of blacks around you. Smothering you and killing you.”
However, what starts out as basic training, fitness and camaraderie soon intensifies as the true nature of the camp is revealed and the boys are forced to question their place in the ‘New South Africa’.
“One must look at the negro not as one’s equal but as a child. A black man has the intelligence level of a 14 year old white boy.”
These camps are designed to recreate a sense of Nationalism amongst the next generation of Afrikaaners, though as their training progresses darker ideological elements emerge revealing the stark realities of their training and indoctrination.
“We have the men. We just need to plant the will in you because you’ve been brain washed by old Mandela. Be proud of your race”
The film follows three particular boys and Col. Franz Jooste -an ex-SADF soldier that fought for his country pre 1994 – and focuses on the conflicting views developed by the boys. Under the strict leadership of their camp leader, they struggle to find their identity within their own communities and within their ‘rainbow’ nation at large. The children are forced to participate in a physically and mentally grueling process that tests their values, believes and identities on every level.
“The truth is that there will definitely be a war in this country. So I’m preparing myself for a war that’s coming.”