How it started

This is the SanDance! story.

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street
All stills by Kgara Kevin Rack & Edwin Angless.

We made SanDance to honour and celebrate the beauty, resilience, and strength of San/Bushman culture in southern Africa, as expressed through the San’s ancient and sublime dance traditions.

SanDance is made in partnership with the featured dance groups and with Botswana San NGO the Kuru Development Trust, which hosts the annual Kuru Dance Festival.

What is the background to the making of SanDance?

Against all odds, San culture survived centuries of colonial repression across the region, including outright genocide in Namibia and South Africa.

And against all odds, San culture endures today, in the face of post-colonial cultural marginalization, and ongoing cultural repression and land dispossession.

While most San communities in southern Africa are no longer allowed to practice their traditional nomadic hunting and gathering lifeway, their dance traditions continue to flourish and regenerate the essence of San cultural identity across the region.

Five years in the making, our crew traveled thousands of kilometres across the Kgalagadi, building relations of trust with San dance groups to create this intimate and sensitive portrayal of a dance culture that dates to the African dawn of human time.

Richard Wicksteed, filmmaker.

Richard Wicksteed began as an anti-apartheid journalist in late 1970s South Africa. Charged under the Official Secrets Act in 1982 and exiled in 1983 to Zimbabwe, he began making documentaries on liberation struggles, environment and development issues, and cultural heritage. On returning from exile in 1993, he covered South African current affairs and focused on San/Bushman issues.

Richard’s San films include In God’s Places on San cultural legacy; Death of A Bushman on the murder of tracker Optel Rooi; Bushman’s Secret (with Rehad Desai) on San medicinal knowledge; My Land is My Dignity on San land rights struggles in Botswana; The Will To Survive on San life today, In The Land of Ou Makai, on the life of San leader Dawid Kruiper, and SanDance!

Licensing inquiries: Talk to us about SanDance!

SanDance! welcomes inquiries from distributors, broadcasters, specialty networks and theatres worldwide.

Inquire now