It’s been hailed as one of the best Afrikaans films to come out of South Africa. We’re here to tell you why Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie is making waves.

What’s the film about? 

It’s a story laced with provocative ideas, from sexual and political liberation to youthful idealism and middle-aged disillusionment. It’s about going against cultural norms, and for many young Afrikaners in the 80s, that meant completely disowning apartheid ideology.

Shortly after the suicide of Afrikaans music legend Johannes Kerkorrel in 2002, four varsity mates from Stellenbosch get together for a braai. They reminisce about their university days. When they were young, wild and most definitely drunk while being fully immersed in the radical protest music of Kerkorrel, Koos Kombuis (who released the song “Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie” in 1994) and Bernoldus Niemand. But they also remember the tragedy they experienced under apartheid and the brutal border war, and how this affected the music they love.

Why it’s making waves

Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie is the debut feature film of the highly respected South African director and actor Christiaan Olwagen. He’s done everything from musicals to puppet theatre, and his experience really comes to the fore in this brilliantly executed movie.

The film also racked up a total of seven awards at the esteemed Silwerskermfees, including Best Feature Film.

Critics have also been singing its praises. Take a look at this interview from Afrikaans current affairs show Flits, where respected critic Reney Warrington gives her take on why everyone should watch it. While the film is heart-wrenching, it will also make you laugh and long for better days.

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