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Saak van Geloof




This October South African filmgoers can look forward to a miracle movie experience. The directorial feature debut of film and television producer Diony Kempen, this new Afrikaans film features singing star Robbie Wessels who had a major success with the comedy “Poena Is Koning” and the hit song “Leeuloop”, joining him is Lelia Etsebeth of “Bakgat” and “Erfsondes” fame together with Gospel singing star Riana Nel in her film debut alongside veteran broadcaster Niekie van den Berg and Isidingo star Michael Brunner.

Set in the magical Karoo town of Prince Albert the story revolves around forgiveness, acceptance and the meaning of miracles.

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When Maritjie Naude, an 18 year old plaasmeisie and the only child of Ella and Kallie the owners of Hoopfontein, an olive farm in the region, comes home on Christmas Eve and tells them that she’s pregnant, it’s enough to shock any parents of a young daughter, but then she drops a real bombshell that will flabbergast not only her mum and dad, but the entire town. Maritjie assures them that she’s still a virgin. The only explanation to her pregnancy – it must be the work of the Holy Spirit!

Writer Jaco Botha who co-wrote the screenplay with Diony Kempen says the idea for the film came to him shortly after Christmas in 2009, when he wondered what a community would say if there was another virgin birth that took place two thousand years after the birth of Jesus Christ.

Like any fable or fairy tale the movie has an extravagant setup which lends itself to a dramatic, inspiring and at times comic examination of the human emotions and even foibles involved in belief and prejudice. Some rumours circulated when the film was in production that the film might be blasphemous; the script is certainly not. In fact the movie is an uplifting endorsement of the power of love, and Dominee Briers and his NGK congregation in Prince Albert where fully supportive of the film. The film is just a story, one that hopefully entertains and inspires. And as for the virgin birth? Well all is revealed in a touching finale that heals the community, proves that God’s first law is to ‘love thy neighbour’ and that a parent’s love is whole no matter how many times divided…

The beautiful town of Prince Albert, in an exquisite, magical corner of the country turned out to be the perfect setting for this compassionate and touching cinematic fable, which shares with Prince Albert a sense of whimsical nostalgia for a time when miracles were the order of the day.

The main set for the film was at the working farm of Vrisch Gewaagt with its striking Victorian farmhouse looking over hectares of land and a massive sky. The actors all stayed there as well, Lelia Etsebeth of Erfsondes and the Bakgat flicks who plays Maritijie, composer and gospel singer Reana Nel in her screen debut as Ella, Cape Town based actress Vanessa Lee who stars as Sanna, the film’s narrator, and folk-rock singing star Robbie Wessels who plays Kallie.

Wessels says it was a great idea for the cast to all stay together, “it created a great chemistry amongst all of us.” The trained actor says he got the script and was charmed and touched by it, it also provided him with the opportunity to broaden his range as an actor and move away from his more broadly comic roles.

Gospel singer Riana Nel makes her movie debut and jokes “I never thought I’d be an actress, I know I can be a drama queen though!” She believes in the new force of the Afrikaans movie industry, “The time is ripe for new stories and this movie is a wonderful life-affirming piece.”

Lelia Etsebeth was also charmed by the tale and is full of praise for Kempen and says that after meeting with the director and producer Carmel Nayanah she could see that they shared a poetic vision, “Perhaps some might think the film is controversial, but in fact it’s magical and life affirming, plus the Karoo is a character in itself in the movie that just adds to the magic.”

The people of Prince Albert, no doubt, felt the production’s presence. Robbie Wessels was a hit in town, often breaking out into a free rendition of his hit “Leeuloop” for enthusiastic youngsters and other ‘Poena’ fans who’d come to peek at the movie makers in town. Then it was the turn of legendary broadcaster Niekie van den Berg who came in for two weekends to play the Dominee, with his newly shaved face the voluminous radio man crept on unsuspecting PA residents with his booming voice, and both he and they loved the recognition!

The movie is the directorial debut of Diony Kempen who together with writer and director Jaco Botha crafted a simple but cinematic screenplay based on a very challenging premise. Kempen’s Welela Studios has been successful in television with two hit children’s programmes “Whip The Chef” and “Treasure Hunt” as well as the nation building weekly show “Talk SA” After the company got involved with Darrell Roodt’s “Jakhalsdans” which Kempen co-produced, the filmmaker was determined to direct a feature and saw this mix of comic fable and magic realism as a perfect vehicle.

Kempen’s talent for getting remarkable performances and his gentle style have produced a touching and inspiring movie that will charm audiences both young and old.



Toe Maritjie Naudé, ‘n plaasmeisie van die karoo, vir haar ouers vertel dat sy swanger is, was dit vir hulle nogals ‘n skok. Natuurlik glad nie so ‘n groot skok as toe sy vir hulle verder vertel dat sy nog ‘n maagd is en dat dit die Heilige Gees is wat haar moes bevrug het nie. Veral haar pa, Kallie, wil graag sy dogter glo, maar soos Sanna wat in die Naudé’s se kombuis werk dit stel: Geloof kom nie altyd so maklik nie.

Ten spyte van die sewe-jaar-droogte wat gebreek word tydens Krisjan se geboorte en die feit dat Sanna se man Abel wonderbaarlik van siekte genees word, bly die kerk en die dorp se mense skepties oor Maritjie se storie. Sy besoek van daar af elke Sondag ‘n ander kerk, op soek na ‘n gemeente wat bereid is om nog in wonderwerke te glo.

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‘n Saak van Geloof, is op ‘n manier ‘n hedendaagse hervertelling van die Christus verhaal, en ‘n versugting na ‘n tyd toe wonderwerke nog aan die orde van die dag was. Dis ‘n deernisvolle verhaal oor ‘n plattelandse gemeenskap wat gekonfronteer word met alles waarin hulle glo.


Robbie Wessels
Lelia Etsebeth
Riana Nel
Niekie van den Berg



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