Sisters of the Wilderness

Sisters of the Wilderness is a new South African social impact feature documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker, Karin Slater. Set in the oldest game park in Africa, the iconic Hluhluwe-uMfolozi Park – where the Southern White Rhino was saved from extinction – the film tells the story of five young Zulu women venturing into the wilderness for the first time on a journey of self-discovery, reminding them that we are all linked to nature.

The film follows the women as they camp under the stars, totally surrounded by wild animals. Carrying on their backs all they need for the journey, they face emotional and physical challenges and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.

Producer Ronit Shapiro of One Nature Films says her experience in the uMfolozi wilderness and a meeting with South Africa’s legendary conservationist, the late Dr Ian Player inspired her to make this film. “We want to ‘transfer’ the audience to an ancient place where no barriers separate human and nature. A journey into the wilderness is an intense experience where one can expect to undergo a personal transformation and build leadership.”

Director Karin Slater says: “I was born in Empangeni and spent my early years close to the iMfolozi wilderness. I have a deep love and connection to this area. I know what the wilderness has done for me over the years. Sisters of the Wilderness also serves as a foundation for an outreach programme that will use multiple platforms to re-connect global audiences with nature.

The film explores the plight of this wilderness area threatened by an open-cast coal mine on its border, as well as the severe poaching that is decimating the rhino population here. Sisters of the Wilderness had its world premiere at the Encounters International Documentary Film Festival. Further screenings will be at the Durban International Film Festival and at the Nature, Environment, Wildlife Filmmakers Congress in Durban in July. It will screen at the Mzansi Women’s Film Festival in Johannesburg in August.