New Creative Encounters Short Film launches at Cambridge Festival 2024

An illustration of a train with the text 'Ntate' over it.

Still from short film | Credit: Ali Aschman

Still from short film | Credit: Ali Aschman

Dr Linda Mbeki, Research Fellow in Black Heritage or Identity at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, has collaborated with artist Ali Aschman to produce a short film.

The film is part of Cambridge University's Public Engagement Creative Encounters project which sees researchers collaborate with filmmakers, illustrators and animators to engage audiences with their research.

Hear from Dr Linda Mbeki below about the film:

This short film is about one of many return journeys made by a family man from his home in the rural areas of Southern Africa to a gold or diamond mine. Although my research focuses on the lived experience of 19th-century miners, I chose to pay homage to the living. I had a moving conversation with a former mine worker who had spent his entire career (21-49 years of age) working in South Africa’s gold mines (1968-1996). Ntate is a soft-spoken 76-year-old grandfather of five. He is tall with a deep voice, which softens when he laughs, something he offers easily. 
We are grateful to Ntate for sharing his bittersweet journey with us. He is an extraordinary man and it could not have been easy telling his story of hardship. Like many men and women of his generation, he did not have the luxury of being present while his children were growing, learning, and hurting. He makes up for lost time by doting on his grandchildren who call him names as his chuckles. 

Ntate Short Film | Credit: Linda Mbeki and Ali Aschman

Ntate Short Film | Credit: Linda Mbeki and Ali Aschman

To see a screening of this short film and others from the project visit the Creative Encounters exhibition at the West Hub from 9:00am-7:00pm daily from Thursday 14 March until Wednesday 27 March as part of Cambridge Festival.

Drawings and animation by Ali Aschman.

Storyboard and additional animation by Alex Widdoson.

Sounds from, and personal recordings.

This project was made possible by UKRI Higher Education Innovation Funding.

Published 15 March 2024

The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License