Louis Wiesner

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Louis Wiesner (b. Jansenville, Eastern Cape, 08/12/1913 – d. Alberton, Gauteng, 13/07/1990) was a radio announcer, producer and filmmaker.


Louis Ferdinand Wiesner was the son of Ds. Jan Frederik Wiesner and his wife, Louisa Bertha Gerber. After completing his studies at the University of Stellenbosch he became a translator in the House of Assembly and was then one of the first announcer/producers of the Afrikaans service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation when it was established in 1936. In July 1939 he was responsible for the translation and production of an Afrikaans radio version of The Bohemian Girl. However, in December 1939 a Radio Inquiry Committee appointed by the Smuts government found that some members of the staff were “animated by an anti-Government spirit” – i.e. they were suspected of being pro-German at a time shortly after World War II had broken out. The following January, Louis Wiesner was arrested at the offices of the SABC and was briefly interned. During that time, Sir Theodore Truter, the Chief Control Officer, interviewed him and decided that he would not pose a danger to the state “provided he kept the promise he made to be more careful in his conduct and utterances.” However, he was not reinstated.

It was at this stage that he become involved in the film industry, albeit on a small scale. In 1942 he was one of six managers of UTOLO and dubbed a 1936 action-adventure called Tundra, made by Norman Dawn and Fred R. Feitshans Jr., into Afrikaans. In 1944 he was the editor and production manager on Donker Spore, directed by Thomas Blok and J.F. Marais (the latter had been with him at the SABC) and the following year he acted as production manager on Pinkie se Erfenis (Pierre de Wet/1945). By 1950 he was back at the SABC and in 1957 he was transferred to Pretoria to become Head of the Agricultural Radio Section. In 1967 he released his only feature as director, entitled In die Lente van Ons Liefde, which had been some five years in the making and probably had its start as far back as 1939, when he was reported to be working on an operetta by that name.

Throughout his life he filmed notable events of interest to Afrikaner traditionalists, including colour footage of the Van Riebeeck celebrations in 1952 and a volkspele tour of Europe in 1953. For the SABC he produced a 14-part long-playing record series entitled Sibasa Minister Verwoerd (1954) and it is thought that some of the surviving film footage of the Ossewabrandwag was shot by him. He also produced a television documentary on C. Louis Leipoldt entitled 'n Handvol Gruis uit die Hamtam, but this was never transmitted. His right-wing views kept him in the public eye and in 1970 he stood for Parliament in the Germiston constituency of Primrose for Albert Hertzog’s Herstigte Nasionale Party. He had married Margaretha Elizabeth Webb (1913-2003) in 1946 and the couple had two children. (FO)


Rand Daily Mail, 29 April 1939

Rand Daily Mail, 7 February 1940

Beeld, 16 July 1990

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)


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