Film ID:
NEFA 21937

DURHAM UNIVERSITY VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA AND LESOTHO

1968

Visitor Tabs

Description

An amateur film made and narrated by David Williams of an educational visit by a delegation from Durham University to the country of Lesotho in southern Africa in 1968. The film begins with the delegation flying to Johannesburg in South Africa and, due to delays with this flight, some of the group had to find alternative travel arrangements. There are views around Johannesburg and a steam train that takes them onto Bloemfontein, the capital of South Africa. The group enter Lesotho from the north via the Caledon River and stay in bungalows near a college campus in the counties capital Maseru. In the second part of the film, a group from the delegation go on an excursion to the Roma Valley before travelling onto Semonkong Falls by horseback and aircraft. The film ends with aircraft returning to Maseru and one of the delegation drinking a local beverage and watching a group of boys perform a dance.

The film opens in general views looking down onto the tarmac of an international airport. Jet aircrafts are parked at the various gates, another comes into land. The film cuts to two women and a man walking along the concourse making their way toward the gate where their flight is boarding. Out on the tarmac the women make their way towards a South African Airways Boeing 707 and climb the steps into the aircraft.

The film cuts to show the pilot, co-pilot and a member of the ground crew looking at the aircraft undercarriage followed by views of the Durham University delegation sitting back in the departure lounge chatting and smoking due to their flights delay.

From the aircraft in flight a view from window of the sun setting over the left wing. The film cuts to the following morning and the sun rising across the wing of the aircraft. General views showing the airplane flying over Angola and Botswana at 18,000ft. On board, stewards serve food to other passengers.

Views from the aircraft as it comes into land at Lughawe Jan Smuts Airport, [now O.R. Tambo International Airport], near Johannesburg in South Africa. The delegation comes down the steps from the plane, a man waves.

The film cuts to a phantom car ride into Johannesburg and an aircraft flying overhead. General views follow of modern high-rise buildings in the centre of Johannesburg as well as a number of decorative fountains. A sign on the side of one buildings reads ‘Station Office Stasiekantore’. A general view inside a shopping mall (out of focus) is followed by a view of a red post box outside. A man approaches and posts a letter.

A steam train moves passenger carriages around a goods yard near to Johannesburg railway station.

General views follow of The Miners Monument, a sculpture by David McGregor paying tribute to Johannesburg mining heritage followed by a city park with fountains and people sitting on benches. Inside a greenhouse views show various flowers in bloom. More views follow of other plants and flowers growing in the decorative flowerbeds around the park.

Views of a diesel train pulling into Johannesburg railway station cut to show a large steam train slowing reversing. The film changes to show another large steam train passing at speed.

The film cuts to sign on a railway platform that reads ‘Bloemfontein’ The sign also advises that the city is 4518 feet above sea level and that Cape Town is 750 miles away. Another steam train pushes a number of passenger carriages along a track.

The livery along the side of a green and cream bus reads ‘The City of Bloemfontein’ changes to show views of the exterior of a hotel with a fountain out the front. Two men walk along a pavement across a busy road from ‘The African Life Building’.

The film cuts to show a modern bungalow and a sign beside a gate that reads ‘Prof J.D. Turner. Education’. General views show daffodils, aloes and cacti growing in the front garden of the bungalow as well as views of other bungalows built nearby. A man and woman sit on the steps of a bungalow, the woman is writing in a book.   

The film cuts to show general views of the Caledon River on the northern border of Lesotho. A man walks through a wooded area, views show trees and other plants growing there.

General views show a number of Little Egret’s feed on the ground in front of a number of cattle. The film changes to show an earthen bank and a hand holding sandy soil which slips through his fingers. General views show scrubland. The sequence ends on a view of the landscape and mountains in the distance.

[Blank]

The film cuts to general views of the sandstone cliffs of the Roma Valley in Lesotho. A shepherd wrapped in a colourful blanket herds his sheep along a road followed by a man from the Durham delegation standing looking across the rocky landscape.

In a village beside a road views show a round mud hut with straw roof, beside it a the frame of a second building. Two men stand beside a white car are looking out across the landscape. The film cuts to show three men walking along a path towards the camera away from a village. In a field two local men, one wearing a weaved hat, stand looking at the camera. At their feet a small stone with a cross in it.

The film cuts to a village and a group of older women in colourful blankets dancing. Beside them, the men stand watching and chatting.

[Blank]

A sign on a building reads ‘Three Tree Store. Masianokeng Store’. A man comes out of the store carrying three bottle of orange drinks and climbs into the back of a Land Rover.

In the shade of a tree a number of mules stand resting. The film cuts to show a large barn outside which a number of people stand waiting to have the corn and meal ground. A woman walks towards the mill carrying a sack on her head.

A phantom car ride follows travelling at speed along dusty roads. General views show the passengers in the car and passing landscape. The film changes to show views from a light aircraft flying over the desert and mountainous landscape. A woman sitting the back seat cleans her classes as the plane flies past snow covered hillside. Views of the pilot at the controls of the aircraft are intercut with those flying over sandy landscape below.

On the ground at Semonkong a man on horseback rides past down into a valley towards a river. On horseback a woman from the Durham delegation crosses the water. A man uses a series of stepping stones to cross the river and collect the horse, bringing it back across the river so that another woman can cross the river on horseback.

Back on board the light aircraft the pilot banks hard to the left. The aircraft flies over the word ‘Semonkong’ which is written in white stones in the red earth below. The film cuts to show views of the aircraft flying near to Maletsunyane Falls and water dropping down the deep gorge.

The aircraft returns to the capital Maseru with views from both the aircraft and at ground level as it comes into land and taxi towards an aircraft hanger. The passengers disembark.

The film cuts to show a man holding up a mug containing a liquid to the camera. The narrator says ‘it looks like tea, tastes like alcoholic porridge’. He takes a drink.

Standing nearby a group of boys wrapped in colourful blankets begin to dance on the spot. A woman comes over and kisses one of the boys on the cheek. The film ends with a number of adults beginning to clap along with the children.