58 minutes VPRO TV 2006
Beaufort-Wes is a small town in the Groot Karoo, the half-desert between Cape Town and Johannesburg. One of its inhabitants is the South-African poet/song writer Gert Vlok Nel.
'Before him there was nothing, and after him there will be nothing', says Antjie Krog about Gert Vlok Nel, who is central to this documentary. Gert Vlok Nel has a modest production. He is now 43, has published two collections of poetry and released a CD. When his first collection Om te lewe is unnaturallik came out, the reviewers knew immediately that they had a rough diamond in their hands. "He dry your heart on a sackcloth," wrote Petra Müller in Die Burger Journaal admiringly about his love poems. Still, she had one point of criticism: 'That bundle is too thin! There must be more orphans from here that digter. Grt Vlok Nel lives in Beaufort-West, a desolate village in the Groot Karoo, the countryside between Cape Town and Johannesburg. There he lives with his father Albert Nel. Beaufort-Wes has given Gert Vlok Nel's poems and songs an almost mythical status: critics are talking about the 'real' South Africa, far from the hygienic, punchy, westernized Cape Town. Which, of course, he immediately puts into perspective: This Beaufort-West does not exist rightly; I consider this to be the case. In the film we meet Gert, his Beaufort-Wes and its inhabitants. His poems and songs are like a soundtrack about the village