Die Wildsboudjie

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Die Wildsboudjie ("The [little] leg of venison") is the title of a play and of a film (based on the play)

Die Wildsboudjie, the play (1940)

It is a play in four acts by Fritz Steyn (1913-1986).

The text

One of the most enduring of Afrikaans farces, it systematically tells of the unmasking of five illegal hunters in the Bushveld. According to J.C. Kannemeyer (1984: p. 346), it can be seen as a series of dramas within a drama (" 'n reeks ‘dramas’ binne 'n drama"). The play was vastly popular in the 1940s and 1950s, and filmed in 1946. It was successfully revived in the 1980s.

First published by Voortrekkerpers[1] in 1941 and also in Die Lewe is ‘n Speeltoneel by Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel (1959). Fourteen editions of the text were published between 1941 and 1974.

Performance history in South Africa

1940: First produced by Volksteater on 14-16 November, 1940, directed by Anna Neethling-Pohl and Egmont Behrens. On 12 and 13 November 1941 a K.A.T. production was directed by Marguerite I. Murray, subsequently touring to Ceres and Observatory.

1985: A professional revival at the H.B. Thom Theatre on 28 March 1985 and at the Nico Malan Theatre from 3 April 1985 was a smashing commercial success for director Pieter Fourie for CAPAB, with veteran actors Schalk Jacobsz, Paul Malherbe, Cobus Rossouw and Louw Verwey playing the four major parts. Other cast members were Antoinette Kellermann, Lynita Crofford, Francois Viljoen and André Roothman. Design by Christopher Lorentz, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell.

1986: Performed by Die Bywoners during the Johannesburg Festival, with Schalk Jacobsz, Cobus Rossouw, Ernst Eloff and Paul Malherbe and also performed for SUKOVS in Bloemfontein.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted for radio and broadcast by the SABC Afrikaans Service


J.C. Kannemeyer. 1984. Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse Literatuur 1. Tafelberg Uitgewers[2]: pp.346.

Nel, 1972


Die Wildsboudjie theatre programme, CAPAB 1985.

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Die Wildsboudjie, the film (1946)

Screening Details

Running Time: 73 min. (Black and White) / Copyright Date: unknown / Release Date: 23 April 1946 / Language: Afrikaans / Genre: Comedy / Alternative Title: none.


When Ds. Gompel and his niece Elsa come to visit Oom Sarel du Plessis on his farm, Oom Sarel and his bywoner, Doors Visagie, decide that the clergyman would appreciate some roast venison for lunch. Unfortunately, the impala they shoot is on the farm of their neighbour, Oom Abel Potgieter, and after a sumptuous meal a suspicious and angry Oom Abel arrives to accuse them of poaching. While trying not to tell outright lies, they evade giving forthright answers. In the meantime the local policeman, Kobus Pieterse, who was engaged to Elsa, turns up to investigate an earlier case of poaching in which both Oom Abel and the Dominee were implicated. However, on his way to the farm the constable shot off his pistol at a protected korhaan and accidentally killed it. While unsaddling Pieterse’s horse, Doors finds the dead bird and informs the two farmers of his discovery…


This rather amateurish film is one of the early Afrikaans features. Ina Nienaber adapted the screenplay from a popular play by Fritz Steyn that was first produced in 1940 for the Volksteater by Anna Neethling-Pohl and subsequently by various touring companies. It was the first of three features produced by Unifilms, a company founded by C. Francis Coley and none of the actors who had performed in the original play were called upon to reprise their roles. No-one in the cast had any film experience, though certainly Frederik Burgers and Emgee Pretorius had lengthy and successful careers afterwards. The two directors, Arthur Bennett and Louis Knobel, also continued to be involved in film. Following a somewhat unfortunate press screening, during which the projector broke down on several occasions, the film premiered at the Duncan Hall in Johannesburg three weeks later. Unifilms followed this first effort with two more features, Die Skerpioen (1946) and Sarie Marais (1949).


Jan Jourdan (Oom Abel Potgieter), M.S. du Buson (Oom Sarel du Plessis), Frederik Burgers (Doors Visagie), Tienie Stiglingh (Ds. Gompel), Antonius Ferreira (Kobus Pieterse), Hansje Hendrikz (Elsa Meiring), Frances Fuchs (Lettie du Plessis), Emgee Pretorius (Wynand Potgieter).




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