MY HEART OF DARKNESS by Eden Film & Gebrueder Beetz productions

Four war-veterans, former enemies journey back to past battlefields deep within the African interior in search of reconciliation, forgiveness and … atonement?

Directors Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk

“There are two kinds of men, those who dream of war and those who have nightmares of war” Marius van Niekerk

The characters in our film, MY HEART OF DARKNESS, are men who have nightmares of war. Forcefully recruited into the military at an early age, often to fight against their own countrymen. Four men, four stories entwined, four fucked-up lives. Always ready to crack, to strike out even against those they love? Why do they snap awake in the middle of the night, running, sweating, pursued, terrified?

MY HEART OF DARKNESS, a journey of reconciliation into the dark African jungle, into a psyche so tainted with years of colonisation, religious brainwash, superstition and witchcraft, where history seems unnoticed, mistakes repeated over and over again, where lies are true until discovered, where life’s worth as much as a bullet, a journey that took us into the darkest of our own souls.

It is undeniably a story that becomes frightening and cruel the farther we churned up that river. Nevertheless, deep down there is a flicker of hope, of human hope that tells of a will to change and the painful insight that shows the contrast of cruelty and selfishness… to dare to love your enemy.

As story infinite and universal, that all can relate to, even if you haven’t been in a war yourself. As more young boys return from Afghanistan to peaceful Sweden wrapped up in body bags, one often wanders what it take to quench the warmonger’s of this world’s thirst for blood, how many bodies will it take to still their hunger for death and destruction… and what will it take to cleanse all that?

During the nearly four years of working on the film, following the veterans journey up the river, closer and closer to their own hearts of darkness, we too had to delve deeper and deeper into our very own souls, our owns doubts but we had to go there to fully understand this process, to participate in that final blood cleansing ceremony. It was inspiring to watch our characters change and transform from former enemies to friends, and made us realise that veterans the world over, have many similarities and much to share and learn from each other. Deep down there the roots are at work, very often, with no one to encourage them.

They are true role models, risking proving to themselves and also to us, that reconciliation is possible and that war is fucked up, and that most people just want to live a peaceful life.

Stockholm 05 November 2010

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

War veterans returned to Angola - Helsingborgs Daily Newspaper HD

War veterans returned to Angola
Marius van Niekerk joined the army at 17 and was thrown into hell on earth. Much later, after having found refuge in Sweden and worked with other war vet’s trauma, he sought inner peace and forgiveness at former battlegrounds.

Four war vets, former enemies step onto a boat along the Kwando river. A quartet of veterans to travel straight into their hearts of darkness. Mario Mahonga, sergeant in the Portuguese army, feeling that he as an officer had additional debt in the atrocity in Angola and Marius van Niekerk, parachute soldier in the South African apartheid regime's service, baring his soul and throws fuel on the fire of confessions. Samuel Machado and Patrick Johannes, who both were conscripted in the early teens, finds that right here in the bush they were fighting on opposite sides in one of the major battles during the bloody civil war.

- When my daughter started asking questions, I felt that I needed to go back, if only to ask for forgiveness to Angola, says filmmaker Marius van Niekerk. He took this atonement journey, which became the documentary "My Heart of Darkness."

African night sky weaves anguished memories and tares up the mental wounds, but suddenly, around a campfire, lit also sparks of hope. During the journey tells Marius of his war crimes. And the nightmares, alcoholism and violence that became his companion.

- My first assignment was to guard a buffer zone and suddenly we found ourselves in the fire-fight. When all was over, it appeared that there were only women and children, although no civilian was suppose to be in the area. It was quickly repress and collective debt was replaced with a strange feeling, like after winning a rugby match.

He entices the others to open up and bear witness to horror and vile abuse. The journey ends with everyone going through a cleansing ritual where they burn Samuel's uniforms and Marius worn cardboard box with photographs and stale memories.

Marius van Niekerk had reached the age of 17 when he was conscripted into the South African Army. Today he lives in Stockholm. He recently came home from a film festival in the Angolan capital of Luanda, with an honorary award in the documentary category. The day before our conversation, he was in Uppsala Cathedral and listened to Leymah Gbowee, founder of the women's movement in Liberia and one of the three recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, who spoke of forgiveness and to look ahead.

- She has done a fantastic job and it's great that reconciliation efforts in Africa noted. Leymah said very wisely, among other things, that every individual has the responsibility for their actions. There is of course more or less debt. For example, in the awful events of 1970 - and 80-century Angola.

- They have not gone through a healing process, just as in South Africa and Liberia, and soldiers from the liberation movement and the guerrillas are still living in hiding in fear of revenge. Ordinary people, but also military, accusing the government for what happened. At the individual level, however, little has happened, says Marius van Niekerk.

After two years he decided to desert, to escape the madness and not have to fight against his countrymen. Instead he was forced to go underground and parents were subjected to threats. When his name appeared on a death list, he decided to leave South Africa. And so, on a kibbutz in Israel, met the war-weary soldier, a young Swedish.

Love brought him to a chilly but peaceful country in northern Europe and he became the father of two daughters. All the time he fought against his demons and trying to hold them back with too much alcohol. He was aggressive and tense and could identify with American Vietnam veterans when he saw a film about their post-traumatic stress. He realized that the number of specialty psychologists were limited. So he started his own self-help groups, and finally came to a point where he realized that the only way out of the darkness was returning to ...  the darkness.

It took three years to find fellow passengers before the boat headed straight into the Angolan jungle in desperate search of apocalyptic self- purification. Marius van Niekerk has also had time to process his identity as a white South African.

- I was ashamed of my background when I came to Sweden and while hated the old generation - my parents, church and government. As a “boer” he received a stern, Calvinist upbringing on the family farm outside Bloemfontein. The indoctrination was that apartheid was the obvious norm and that all freedom fighters were communists and should be annihilated.

- At one point I told my parents that the man they hated and called our worst enemy, Nelson Mandela, would one day become the president. They were upset and did not talk to me for many years. But it’s gotten better and they changed their attitude, even if they are worried about the current developments in the country. The next film project called "City of Joy-the raped women, their rapist & healers in DRC"  focuses on eastern Congo and the monumental cruelty to women of all ages are exposed to.

- I have spent weeks interviewing victims who tell horror stories, girls with their genitals torn. I want to confront offenders, often young boys, with what they've done. Somehow I want to access the mechanisms that underlie these barbaric atrocities.

Soldiers who rape and desecrates and patriarchal societies that turn out victims. Is it possible to forgive, and it is really reconciliation we want, at every possible price?

- Society must take responsibility and create justice. Whether the it’s possible to forgive is placed on an individual basis. One thing is certain, we men have much to work with.

"My Heart of Darkness", or "MItt Mörka Hjärtat" in Swedish. A return journey inspired both by Joseph Conrad's classic novel "Heart of Darkness" from 1902, and Francis Ford Coppola film "Apocalypse Now" (1979)with the document located in the Vietnam War. In "My Heart of Darkness" the names of the main characters Patrick John, Marius van Niekerk, Samuel Machado and Mario Mahonga. Marius and Staffan Julén are the directers and the film, which premiered in April, distributed    by Folketsbio and can be purchased at: and

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Marius and Buca Boavida (Cultural Attaché Angolan Embassy Stockholm), Luanda. 
Buca Boavida and Patrick Johannes in Windhoek sharing the award news. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011



My Heart of Darkness screening 8-11-11 at the Utorak


From the 4th to the 9th of November at Belgrade Cultural Center and Dom Omladine

The 7th edition of FREE ZONE festival will take place from the 4th to the 9th of November at Belgrade Cultural Center and Dom Omladine.This year‘s edition is presented by the authors who, through their personal example and their films, deeply commit faith in man and the ability to change, regardless of historical circumstances and personal limitations, religious and social dogmas and pressures.At the opening night of the festival on the 4th of November, at Belgrade Cultural Center we will present “This is not a film“ by Jafar Panahi, famous and award-wining director from Iran.This movie, smuggled form Iran on a USB stick hidden in a cake, represents a great statement of the Iranian director as a response to the circumstances of the house arrest when he finds out that Teheran court has upheld a six-year jail sentence and 20-year filmmaking, freedom of movement and media exposure ban against him.During six festival days, Belgrade audience will be able to see around 40 films that deal with and explore social and political events from all around the world. The program also displays a selection of films from contemporary Swedish engaged documentary production, and the work of graduates of one of the world’s most prestigious film schools - the National Film School of London. The audience will also have a unique opportunity to watch a number of films that explore the position of women in the modern world or the films directed by women.The visual identity of the festival was developed in collaboration with young forces, high school students from Serbia who gave us a new perspective on the topic of TOMORROW.  This is exactly the reason why the festival is presenting a line of films that are selected by high school students in view of their representation of perspectives and attitudes.As every year, the audience award for the best film of the festival will be given through purchasing rights for TV broadcasting, and for the third time we will also give the award for the audience – for the best film review of this year‘s Free Zone. The prize is a laptop.The festival warm up will start on the 28th of October at Cultural Center REX at 8PM with a concert of Boris Kovač (Serbia) and David Yengibarjan (Armenia). FREE ZONE audience that is constantly seeking new challenges will have the chance to listen to these two musicians who are ready to cooperate with others and to experiment with new expressions. Their music is characterized by specific expressions that combine classical, jazz and chamber music, improvisation and elements of rich national traditions.Tickets for the festival will be on sale from the October 28th at the ticket office of Belgrade Cultural Center and Dom Omladine. Individual tickets will cost 200RSD, while the revival screenings tickets will cost 150 dinars.Take your seat in the FREE ZONE! TODAY!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


By screening this film in relation to the exhibition I Will Never Talk About the War Again containing works by artists from former Yugoslavia, also from a society marked by traumatic war memories, Färgfabriken wants to highlight the individual's role and situation in the perverse logic of conflict.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


MY HEART OF DARKNESS. A successful screening hosted by German co-producer Christian Beetz at the Babylon Mitte, with both directors Staffan Julén & Marius van Niekerk in attendance. Having your film's German premier in mother city BERLIN is an amazing event. A huge diverse, throbbing city with lots of soul, s......till laid-back COOL. With a current social history exhibited in fascinating graffiti on both new and old buildings still not repaired from the occupation, the Babylon Mitte, where our film was shown, is a cosy little 100 seater just around the corner from the famous Alexanderplatz.

The sensitive, beautifully done German voice-over (German Laurence Fishburne), in harmony with DoP Peter Östlund's spectacular cinematography  captured the audience in the fully packed auditorium, from beginning to end. To hear the narration in another voice, worked in a surprising way, revealing a different, reflective truth. Very exiting. The capturing debate afterwards made one realise that there are still lots of unresolved trauma here and a feeling of denial difficult to hide. And there was still guilt too, guilt of what was done by people we know. Just this is a rewarding feeling, that if our film can create a platform for such discussion to take place, we have succeeded in a very difficult task. Also special about this screening was that two close friends daughters, one travelling and the other studying in Berlin, came. Thanks Tove & Ellen. And with a delicious German sparkling wine, the evening was nicely rounded off in the spacious Babylon Cinema foyer. Berlin is a city I am definitely going to visit again soon. Marius

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


"Your documentary is absolutely brilliant and quite haunting. I was dreaming about it last night. I can't get some of those images out of my mind. I really think it's an extraordinarily courageous film, as well as a very important film. Respect!

It is also an extremely powerful anti-war statement. It's so brutally honest and shows up all those skynheilige drogredenasies of the retired generals and apologists on the right, the people who are now saying the border war was justified because that's what brought about the political dispensation we have now. There's another good Afrikaans word for that: kakstorie. Thank you, once again. It was a privilege to have been there last night. Best wishes, Anthony." Anthony Ackerman- South African playwright/dramatist (Somewhere On The Border)

"Good luck with your film's journey. I think you have made a fine film, navigated the uncharted and treacherous waters carefully and compassionately - very tricky editing in terms of tone -  using the river as metaphor was genius -  And I think it will resonate deeply with all who see it, veterans or not. " Jenny Hicks, Film producer Cowgirl Films (32 Batt feature) 

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Sieh Mchawala (Barefoot in Ethiopia), David Vadiveloo (Voices from the Cape), Jack Lewis (Tac-Taking Haart) & Marius van Niekerk (My Heart of Darkness) at Maponya Mall Soweto, Bioscope, Tri-Continental Fest 2011

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Comments after our Swedish Cinema Premier at Bio Zita Stockholm April 2011

Jennifer Kestis Ferguson wrote
"Marius. Thank you for the courage, the massive 'uithouvermoe'' that it took to get The Story told. The act of 'creation' is a powerful counterpoint to our world's insanity, as well as the madness we all hold within ourselves. 'My heart of darkness' is very powerful and deeply unsettling work, where the circumstance of war transforms ordinary boys into the de-humanised. It howls to us that we have to find another way, than war, to deal with conflict. By obeying your heart's unwavering imperative to undertake a journey  confession of truth, both the asking, and the painful cultivation of receiving, forgiveness, you with your amazing team, will help many others who still have to face the memories of war horror: For, 'as you heal yourself, you heal the world.' Blessings on you, my brother."

Monday, 22 August 2011


En film av Staffan Julén och Marius van Niekerk
I en skokartong bär Marius van Niekerk plågsamma minnen. Dem har han släpat på i 28 år, sedan han var sydafrikansk soldat i Angola. Det räcker inte att kasta kartongen för att bli av med minnena, i stället konfronterar han dem på en resa i Angola tillsammans med sina forna fiender. I dokumentären ”Mitt mörka hjärta” reser fyra krigsveteraner tillsammans på en båt på floden Kwando. Det är en resa som sker både längs krigsskådeplatser och i minnena.  More...

For other language translations use Google Chrome's translate function.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


South African writer / director Marius van Niekerk’s My Heart of Darkness will have its African premiere at the upcoming TriContinental Film Festival. The film was produced & co-directed and produced by Staffan Julén.  More...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011



The much anticipated TRI CONTINENTAL FILM FESTIVAL is coming to select Ster-Kinekor and Cinema Nouveau theatres this September!

The Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) is South Africa’s only dedicated human rights film event and consists of films that promote democratisation, deepens understanding, and affords those marginalised a substantive voice, proving to be more vital than ever in our rapidly changing world.

TCFF has played a significant role in creating a sustainable and continually growing audience for social justice cinema over the past nine years, through film selection that is nuanced, relevant, informative and well-balanced, and promise to continue this tradition in 2011, with a program that reflects global currents of change and action.

The selection of films presented this year is the result of rigorous curation of over 500 entries. These works speak directly to the pressing concerns of our world and the power of documentary and fiction to relay these concerns in a compelling and powerful manner. TCFF is also pleased to present two retrospectives; the outstanding works of Peter Wintonick and a finely crafted selection from documentary icon Werner Herzog is presented in conjunction with The Goethe-Institute Johannesburg.

“We are proud to present a crop of excellent films which speak directly to this issue and will continue to do so in the coming years so we can play our own small part in building a movement to halt the forward march towards the end of humanity as we know it,” says Rehad Desai, the Festival Director.


Four war-veterans, from different sides, step onto a boat at the mouth of the Kwando river deep within the African interior. They are on a journey back to past battlefields, the sites where they as youngsters, tried to kill each other during apartheid South Africa¹s interventions in Namibia and Angola (1975-1992). South African writer / director Marius van Niekerk’s My Heart of Darkness will have its African premiere at the upcoming TriContinental Film Festival. The film was co-directed and produced by Staffan Julén.
Screening Program
* Soweto, Maponya  -  5.30pm 9th September  (African Premier)

* Johannesburg, Bioscope  – 3.00pm 10th September 

* Johannesburg, Rosebank Cinema Nouveau  - 8pm 14th September

* Cape Town Cinema Nouveau – 6.30pm 18th Sept

* Cape Town Cinema Nouveau - 08:15pm 22 Sept

* Pretoria, Brooklyn Nouveau - 8.00pm 27 September 

Please spread the festival date amongst your friends, especially your war veteran friends, family & therapists and come and meet us at the Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival 9th and 28th of September 2011 in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria, South Africa for our African premier. Book your seats now. During the festival special venues are planned addressing veterans issues and post apartheid war legacy. Your presence and support are vital to us spreading this message of reconciliation. Looking forward to see you there.

Visiting director: Marius van Niekerk
Visiting cast: Mario Mahonga & Patrick Johannes (Johannesburg only)
+46 70 259 56 25

Monday, 8 August 2011


Recent article in Dagens Nyheter/Insidan (one of Sweden's biggest dailies) "War veteran search for Reconciliation". To read this article in English download Google Chrome at the following link and use it's translate function (  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Feedback, comments & reviews of MHOD resent SA screenings

"It was a pleasure to meet you in G’town – and to watch your redemptive move in the comfort of my home.

And what a story it is! I loved it, despite the tragic element underlying it. I loved the very active style, not jumpy but never flat; and the way that barriers between the four of you seemed to break down as time went on, time and talk, the twin healers. Memorable other bits? Samuel’s wife, who seemed very mistrustful of the whole process, the crocodile (which could never be scripted!), and the decision to burn the pictures and other stuff. Did you really do that? And was it necessary? I know that I’m a hoarder of all sorts of things and could never burn photos – or delete them as we can do now – not even of my ex-wife! But clearly the war made more of an impact and I suppose with that background, redemption and expunging the memory was probably more important.

Well done on a wonderful movie, handled with sensitivity and great pace, creating a harrowing account of real people in war, as opposed to caricatures. When’s the next one?

Oh, last point, Sweden was called “cold and peaceful”. Is this a compliment, I wonder? I expect it is compared to SA being “warm and violent”!!!!"  (James Clelland - winner of the European Union  Literary Award 2010 for novel "Deeper than Colour") 

"I saw "My heart of Darkness" and am utterly impressed by your latest production! Well done. I hope you can move on now that this tremendous statement is made. Before watching, I was nervous about being “taken back” to the war.  But wow, as this was without script and with unknown former enemies, I'm amazed by what I saw. The communication is unbelievable. The idea of drawing stories worked well. And of course the setting was fantastic. The closing scene with ex-UNITA and Fapla re-enacting an old battle is remarkable. I’m sure that this will be of interest to any soldier in that war as it’s not about South African's at war but about soldiers in Angola at the time." (Jim Hunneyball - ex-parra, conscript  SADF)

Monday, 4 July 2011


Congratulations! "My Heart of Darkness" are invited to screen at this year's Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF). We are still in the process of organizing the schedule, but wanted to send out this preliminary notification so everyone can mark their calendars- TCFF 2011's cinema leg opens on the 9th of September and closes on the 23rd of September. The festival will run in Johannesburg (main activities) Cape Town and Pretoria in 2011. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Platfontein Screening of My Heart of Darkness - Ex-SADF San vets community

Screening conference with reconciliation film My Heart of Darkness at the Cultural Centre at Platfontein, just outside Kimberley, Western Cape, South Africa. Mario Mahonga, spokesmen of the !Kung Bushman at Platfontein and former SADF Staff-Sergeant 101/102 batt. Kaprivi, also one of the participants in the film will mediate a conference taking up post-war issues concerning the San soldiers of Angola & South Africa.

Monday, 20 June 2011

2011 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown


My Heart of Darkness in special session 
around the issues of post border war legacy at the 2011 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa July 7-8.  

Marius is invited to participate in a discussions around post border war & ex-conscript issues, a spin-off of preformed venues at the festival. Come meet me there if you interested in my latest film "My Heart of Darkness" co-directed with Staffan Julén (Prize of The Pole), my new film in development"City of Joy-the raped women, their rapist & healers in DRC", discuss latest war trauma issues or just grab a beer.  +46-70-259 56 25.

The Festival and related events that comprise our loose and flexible programme are:
  • Thursday 7 July 11.00: James Clelland and Paul Morris speaking about “Deeper than Colour” at WordFest (Eden Grove Launch Pad)

  • Thursday 7 July 18.30: “Somewhere on the Border” (Victoria Theatre)

  • Friday 8 July 10.00: Anthony Akerman’s lecture on ”Somewhere on the Border” (Eden Grove Blue Lecture Theatre)

  • Friday 8 July 13.30: Think!Fest organisers have agreed to an unofficial screening of Marius van Niekerk’s “My Heart of Darkness” in the Eden Grove Blue Lecture Theatre – we will need to move to another venue for the post-screening discussion.

  • Friday 8 July 15.30: Beginning of semi-private dialogue session in Environmental Education Centre adjoining Eden Grove. Supper will be served at 18.30, after which members of the “Somewhere on the Border” will join the discussions.

Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa 13-15 July.

My Heart of Darkness opens The United Nations and Regional Challenges in Africa 50 Years After the Death of Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar.

A Seminar at the University of Pretoria, 13 to 15 July 2011. Organised jointly by the Department of Political Sciences/University of Pretoria and The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation/Uppsala in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden/Pretoria

Wednesday, 13 July
14.30 to 17.00 hrs
Public Film Screening
“My Heart of Darkness”
Followed by a panel discussion
with the filmmaker Marius van Niekerk
and invited discussants

17.00 Refreshments
17.30 hrs
Public Opening
Dag Hammarskjöld’s Legacy:
The United Nations and Africa

Words of Welcome:
Cheryl de la Rey, Rector of the University of Pretoria
Peter Tejler, the Ambassador of Sweden to South Africa
Hon. Deputy Foreign Minister Marius Fransman
Panel with:
Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Carlos Lopes, Jan Nordlander, Festus Mogae (tbc)
Maxi Schoeman and Henning Melber

Followed by a light finger supper.

Thursday, 14 July
8.45 hrs Welcoming/Opening Statement (Maxi Schoeman)
9.00 hrs Keynote Address
Henning Melber
Dag Hammarskjöld: Ethics, Solidarity and Global Leadership

Sessions 1
Chairperson: Jan Mutton
9.30 hrs Manuel Fröhlich,
The Role of UN Special Representatives and Envoys in Mediation and Peacekeeping
Comments by Jan Pronk and Francis Deng

10.30 hrs Coffee/Tea

11.00 hrs Alex Obote-Odora
International Criminal Justice in the Shadow of Politics
Comments by Michelo Hansungule

12.00 Laurie Nathan
The SADC Tribunal: regional organisations, human security, human rights, and international law
Comments by Jan Nordlander

13.00 hrs Lunch

14. 00 hrs Erika de Wet
The United Nations Collective Security System in the 21st Century: Increased Decentralization through Regionalization and Reliance on Self-defense
Comments by Ove Bring

15.00 hrs Coffee/Tea

15.30 to 17.00 hrs
Public book launch
Chris Saunders
Dag Hammarskjöld and South Africa
Vasu Gouden/Jannie Malan on African Journal of Conflict Resolution no. 1/2011: “Southern Africa – 50 Years After Hammarskjöld”
Henning Melber on New Routes no. 2/2011:
“Dag Hammarskjöld and the United Nations: Vision and legacy – 50 years later”
Jan Pronk on Development Dialogue no. 56:
“Erskine Barton Childers – For a democratic United Nations and the Rule of Law”

18.00 hrs
Public Evening Roundtable
Mediation, Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Post-conflict Reconstruction
Maxi Schoeman
Panel with:
Festus Mogae (tbc) Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Monica Juma, Carlos Lopes, Dumisani Kumalo, Kingsley Makhubela (tbc)
Henning Melber

Followed by a light finger supper.

Friday, 15 July
9.00 hrs Keynote Address
Ove Bring
Dag Hammarskjöld´s Approach to International Law

Sessions 2
Chairperson:  Siphamandla Zondi
9.30 hrs Cyril Obi, 
West African Regional Security Architecture with special reference to the Cote d’Ivoire
Comments by Roeland van de Geer
10.30 hrs Coffee/Tea Break
11.00 hrs Kwesi Aning,
Conflict Prevention as Regional Challenge: ECOWAS, AU and UN
Comments by Ayanda Ntsaluba (tbc)
12.00 hrs Concluding Session:
Plenary Debate

12. 30 hrs Lunch Break

13.30 hrs

Public Closing Roundtable
Africa and Global Governance:
International Perspectives for Peace, Security and the Rule of Law
Panel with:
Ove Bring, Monica Juma, Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Ayanda Ntsaluba (tbc)
Maxi Schoeman and Henning Melber

15.00 hrs Coffee/Tea

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

4t European Conference on African Studies - African Engagements: On Whose Terms?

4t European Conference on African Studies - African Engagements: On Whose Terms? 
Uppsala, Sweden 15-18 June, 2011

Screening & debate of My Heart of Darkness 16th April 17.00-19.00, Uppsala University, Ekonomikum, Lecture Hall 3, Uppsala, Sweden

Friday, 3 June 2011





MY HEART OF DARKNESS by Staffan Julén & Marius van Niekerk
Director of Photography - Peter Östlund fsf, Music Composer - Jan Anderson, Editor - Clas Lindberg

MY HEART OF DARKNESS follows Marius van Niekerk and three of his former enemies, from different sides, as they step onto a boat at the mouth of the Kwando River. Marius who was recruited at the age of seventeen into the South African army, later deployed in Namibia and Angola, was forced to leave South Africa into exile in Sweden where he resides and works as a filmmaker. The former soldiers are on a journey back to past battlefields; the sites where they tried to kill each other during apartheid South Africa’s interventions in Namibia and Angola (1975-1992).



Representatives from the Dag Hammarskjöld foundation, The Red Cross Trauma Center and the Swedish Church take part in the following discussion, moderated by Mikael Ohlsson (hosting ”Konflikt” at the Sveriges Radio).

HENNING MELBER(The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation)Henning Melber joined the anti-colonial liberation movement SWAPO of Namibia in 1974. Returning from exile, he became the director of The Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit in Windhoek. In 2000, he took over as research director of the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala. Since 2006, he is the executive director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.

ULF GUSTAVSSON(The Red Cross) Ulf Gustavsson is a psychologist and a psychotherapist with a journalistic background. He is the director of the Red Cross Trauma Center in Uppsala where he offers treatment for refugees who have been traumatised by war, torture and abuse.

ELSE BERGLUND(Svenska kyrkan) Else Berglund is a social worker with vast experience from development aid work, including field operations in Sudan and Pakistan. Else works as psycho-social thematic expert of the Swedish Church's humanitarian aid section and has implemented a variety of training courses abroad.

MARIUS VAN NIEKERK(Eden film) Marius van Niekerk, co-director of the film, is a South African filmmaker, photographer and writer. He was forcefully recruited to the South African army during the apartheid time and came in the 80’s to Sweden, where he still resides.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

EDOC10 International Film Festival CUITO QCUADOR May 13-23 2011


From Friday 13 start of the EDOC functions in Quito in Ochoymedio, incineration, Sala Alfredo Pareja of the CCE and the Junior World. This first weekend will be 56 roles in 6 rooms, forums as well as national and international directors.
May 13 - 23th 2011

My Heart of Darkness Screenings:
S3 Incineration 18th 20.15
S3 Incineration 20th 18.30

Staffan is attending this years EDOC10 with both MY HEART OF DARKNESS  and LAST CHAPTER screening. See their site for the program. Unfortunately only in Spanish but you can download this amazing translator Google Chrome and translate the whole site in whatever language you want at the link:

Hope you have a great time and may you see many great films & meet great filmmakers. 

See you there.
Marius & Staffan

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Go'Kväll 18.15 today, Wednesday, Marius guest on SVT's popular daily magazine program.

Check out Go'Kväll on SVT1 18.15 today, a popular daily magazine program on Swedish Television 1. I am invited to talk about our latest film "My Heart of Darkness. Can also later be seen at SVT Play.
My Heart of Darkness/Mitt Mörka Hjärta is a film by the directors Staffan Julén & Marius van Niekerk 2010.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Post Premier & Special Screening of My Heart of Darkness

We had a very successful premier last Friday, full house and very interesting Q&A.  Thanks to all those that came and participated. The mingle afterwards at Snickarbacke 7 was delightful and the Graham Beck bubbly sponsored by Anna Wig at the Prime wine group, super. A very up-beat gallery just around the corner from Bio Zita with very friendly owners. To be recommended. Attended by representatives from the local Souther African associations and embassies. Unfortunately did Mario & Patrick, my companions in the film not get their Visas in time to attend the event thanks to the Schengen Agreement's very restricted rules. We are working on screenings in Angola, Namibia & South Africa this year at film festival and hopefully on TV. We also plan to drive out to villages in the bush with a mobile screening unit. Film team present were directors Marius & Staffan (aslo producer), DoP Peter Östlund,  Music Composer Jan Anderson. 

The Special Screening Saturday well moderated by Micke Ohlsson (SR P1 Konflikt) with representatives from the Angolan, Namibian and South African Associations in Sweden and the directors, me and Staffan on the panel after the screening turned out to be a historical and moving event. The first time in Sweden for the three associations to share a stage of reconciliation.  Paulo Lara and Tony Nguxi flew in from Angola. Amongst the audience were singer Jennifer Ferguson, Mona Salin, Berit & Sten Rylander, Angolan Embassy Manuel Carvajal and many more. A very promising first step for reconciliatory collaboration. Warm thanks to Buca Boavida, Cultural Attaché at the Angolan Embassy in Stockholm for his help and support in arranging this venue.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

My Heart of Darkness-Special Screening 9th Apr 2011


RECONCILIATION – dare to forgive & love your enemy

Eden film and Folkets bio in collaboration with The South Africa Society in Sweden, The Namibia Society in Sweden and the Angolan Association Kwanza



followed by a discussion on how to meet and forgive one’s enemy


at Bio Zita, Birger Jarlsgatan 37, Stockholm

Directors Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk will take part in the discussion together with the three associations. Moderated by Mikael Olsson (hosting “Konflikt” on Swedish Radio).

Tickets: 75 SEK

To buy tickets: or phone: 08-23 20 20

MY HEART OF DARKNESS follows Marius van Niekerk and three of his former enemies, from different sides, as they step onto a boat at the mouth of the Kwando river deep within the African interior. Marius who was recruited at the age of seventeen into the South African army, later deployed in Namibia and Angola, was forced to leave South Africa into exile in Sweden where he resides and works as a filmmaker. They are on a journey back to past battlefields, the sites where they as youngsters, tried to kill each other during apartheid South Africa’s interventions in Namibia & Angola (1975-1994).

My Heart of Darkness - Swedish Premier 8th April 2011





Mingel med vin och tilltugg från 17.45
på Snickarbacken 7 (runt hörnet från biografen)
Filmen börjar 18.45 på biografen Zita, på Birger Jarlsgatan 37
Efter filmen är alla välkomna att ta ett glas och lite tilltugg i Eden Films lokaler i Liljeholmen, Lövholmsbrinken 2b, T-Liljeholmen (bredvid Färgfabriken, karta bifogas).
Inbjuden gäller för två personer. OBS! Begränsat antal platser.
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