Leaving Mandela Park

a film by Saskia Vredeveld
Five lively kids use art to escape from the Mandela Park township in Cape Town, South Africa.

Leaving Mandela Park is a kaleidoscopic documentary about the dreams of children living in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. It tells the story of five youngsters with a special drive to escape, however briefly, the drabness of everyday reality.

Gauva left his hometown as a little boy because he didn’t see a future. Someone discovered his singing talents and now he performs on the streets and sells his CD’s to the spectators. Cynthia lives in a neighbourhood where gangs shoot at each other, but has her saxophone as a means of escape. Pinky studies hard to realise her dream – a stone house -, dancing to lighten her life. Music and dance turn out to be the means of survival for these children.

These dreams do not stand on their own. They are a metaphor for the hopeful future of a country trying to drag itself up from a mire of poverty and violence. Leaving Mandela Park shows the incredible resilience and vitality of these children.

About the director

Saskia Vredeveld is an acclaimed South-African – Dutch filmdirector living in Amsterdam.

Saskia studied theology in Amsterdam and film & photography at the University of Westminster, London, and graduated as a fiction film director, writer and producer from the Dutch Film Academy. She holds a post-graduate from the Binger Film Institute, Amsterdam.

She directs documentary films and in the past fiction for Dutch televsion and youth programms for the VPRO. She now and then does cinematography and sound.

Saskia has made over 25 creative documentaries of which many have been selected for prestigious international film festivals, received prizes, and were broadcasted internationally.

She produced several films, taught filmmaking at several institutions, and sat in the advisory filmcommitee of the Dutch Film Fund and Dutch Film Festival.

Saskia is passionate about filmmaking.


written and directed by 
Saskia Vredeveld

Melle van Essen

Sander Roeleveld

Edited by 
Riekje Ziengs

sound recording
Frenk van der Sterre

original music by
Hans Helewaut

Awards & festivals

Audience Award Russian Antropologic Film Festival (RAFF)
Jekaterinenburg, Russia, 2011

world premiere IDFA
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2010

Official selection Docville
Leuven, Belgium, 2011

Official selection  Netherlands Film Festival
Utrecht, Netherlands, 2011


Production Details

A Zeppers Film production

in coproduction with
Off World

With the Support from
Netherlands Film Fund
Flanders Audiovisual Fund
Cobo Fund