Written by: Liryn de Jager
Will we save rhinos from extinction in the wild? Are we going to look back at this turning point one day and say we did all we could, or we should have done more if we had known what was really going on?
Sitting between the bodies of two slain rhinos, Bonné de Bod was confronted by these burning questions. How could anyone do something like this, how could the lure of money literally suck the life out of these iconic creatures?
It is these burning questions that prompted Bonné, radio presenter and television personality who is known from 50|50 on SABC, to take action. As a South African with a deep rooted love for all things wild and wonderful, she knew she had to do something. In that moment, the idea of STROOP came to fruition, and Bonné’s search for the truth started.
STROOP is the first full length Afrikaans nature film (with English subtitles) about the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. It is earmarked for release in December 2014 in theatres countrywide.
Through the film, Bonné will be documenting her journey as she travels throughout South Africa and abroad, looking at all the work being done, what’s not being done and asking are we indeed doing enough?
Bonné and Susan Scott, award-winning editor and filmmaker, strongly feel that STROOP needs to belong to the people of South Africa; it is their heritage that is at stake. That is why a strong crowd-funding campaign has been launched on Indiegogo.
Crowd-funding is a new concept to South Africans, but it is an opportunity to be a part of STROOP. The campaign ends on 14 August 2014 but continued contributions to the STROOP campaign can also be made to the following account: FNB Cheque account – STROOP DIE FILM – 62482144624.
Liryn de Jager talked to Bonné about STROOP.
Q: Why the love for the rhino?
A: For the past four years I’ve been very fortunate to be part of 50|50 where we’ve been telling stories that matter. But it is the stories about the rhino that I’ve covered and the brutality that they encounter every day, which left a permanent mark on my heart.
Q: Why did you decide to make STROOP?
A: I was in the Kruger National Park with a forensic team when we came across two rhino carcasses and I was totally overwhelmed. I had to sit between the rhinos to do my links, I was broken. I was confronted by so many questions, how could anybody do such a thing? I realised that I needed to make a brave decision; I could no longer just stand and watch, something needed to be done, plain and simple. And that’s the origin of STROOP.
This is not just another rhino film; it is my quest for the truth. I can’t help but wonder that we are wasting precious time arguing about the “right” way to save our rhinos. Are we really saving them? I want to know the truth.
As film makers we don’t get tangled up in government decisions or the bureaucracy of national parks. We also can’t just confront poachers straight up. But we can have an impact by showing what’s not being shown. This includes the everyday heroes that are committed to saving these beasts from extinction and also to get answers to the hard questions.
This film doesn’t belong to one single entity; it belongs to all South Africans. It is a truly independent production.
Q: Why is it in Afrikaans?
A: This is the first Afrikaans film of this kind. It is part of my heritage and I wanted to tell the story from that vantage point. However, it is still a film for all South Africans, hence the English subtitles.
Q: What do you say to people that ask why do we need to save the rhino? There are other animals also staring into the abyss of extinction.
A: The rhino doesn’t have much time left. Rhino poaching has increased by 3000 % in the last five years and there are predictions that by 2016 the death rate will be higher than the birth rate, in other words, there will be negative growth. We can’t let this happen.
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