There are many different experiences of war and many ways of dealing with its effects. Not everyone’s post-war journey follows a healing path. While some may look to psychotherapy and others take a spiritual journey, many have resorted to the oblivion of alcohol and drugs.
Marius Van Niekerk has made a remarkable and compelling movie about part of his own journey. Returning to Angola, the ex-paratrooper meets up with three other war veterans to undertake a journey through the beautiful Angolan landscape; a beauty in stark contrast to the horror of their stories. The men had fought on different sides: a FAPLA soldier who had fought for the Angolan government, a UNITA soldier who had fought for Savimbi’s rebels, and a Bushman soldier who had fought for both the Portuguese colonial army and later the South Africans.
In a parallel to Joseph Conrad’s story, the four men make their way up an Angolan river by boat and travel deeper into the darkness and horror of their respective pasts as they go.
During the course of the private screening in Grahamstown I found myself feeling shocked, horrified, moved to tears and finally left with feelings of hope.
My Heart of Darkness is to be premiered in South Africa later this year.
Follow this link to see a trailer of My Heart of Darkness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJxX6ShOO9w