Pierre D. Botha

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(b. Colesberg, 16/12/1926 – d. 14/12/2005). Director. At the age of 10, Pierre Dauvergne Botha got hold of an old projector and some film and charged his friends a penny apiece admission to his screenings. At the age of 14 he left home and joined the army, where he remained for five months before his real age was discovered and he was sent home. After his schooling he worked as a motor mechanic, a clerk, a tomato farmer and a dress salesman. It is said that he proposed to his wife, Christine, two hours after meeting her and she was to be his production associate throughout his brief film career. His first film was Die Goddelose Stad (1958), a film about the ducktails of Johannesburg. Despite some technical deficiencies, it was well received. This was followed by Die Bubbles Schroeder Storie (1961), which dealt with prostitution through the 1949 unsolved murder of a ‘good-time’ girl. Preparations for shooting commenced in 1958, but there were many delays, amongst them the replacement of the leading actress. In July 1960 the Censor Board declared it “offensive to public decency” and banned it outright, the first Afrikaans film to be so treated. After Botha appealed the decision it was finally released in June 1961. In the meantime he had started work on a fictional murder mystery based on a book by the Afrikaans writer Mikro. Moord in Kompartement 1001E (1961) was set on a train travelling from Cape Town to Kimberley and involved a map supposedly revealing the location of the legendary Kruger millions. His last film was a complete departure from what he had done before. Called Die Reën Kom Weer (1963), it was initially to be made for the Christelike Afrikaanse Radio en Film Organisasie (CARFO), but after they withdrew it was financed by the publishers of the magazine Naweekpos. The subject was the faith and courage of a small group of farmers during a severe drought. A number of other projects came to nought and subsequently Botha left the film world. His younger brother was Immel Botha (1931-2012), who produced a now forgotten film called The Desert Inn (1959). (FO)

Sources

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

Private archive and correspondence

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