Al Debbo
Daan Retief
Dirk de Villiers
Elmo de Witt
Emil Noval
Ivan Hall
Jan Scholtz

The inimitable and irresistible Alec Debbo was born in Bloemfontein on 22 June 1924. He is one of South Africa’s biggest variety artists ever. The charming actor with his trademark saucer eyes has a career that spans more than five decades in the music industry. He has a proven track record as comedian, stage actor, film actor, singer and recording artist. Debbo has entertained generations of South Africans and inspired those who’ve met him. As one of the most famous artists of his generation he made an enormous contribution to Afrikaans music and culture.

Some of Debbo’s greatest hits were:
Daar Kom die Alibama, Bokkie, Hasie, Stoppie, Tamatiesous en kerriekos, Sousboontjies, Riksjabooi, Die brake van Turffontein, Baas Jack, Sonbrilletjies, Die tantes van Nantes, Ek ry met die trein, Teddiebeer, Brakkie in die venster, Ek kan my lag nie hou, Bolandse nooientjie, Hoë polvy, Ding dong, Stellenbosch die roep my, Boerekos, Koos van der Merwe, Sikkedoema, Hy-ba-ba-rie-bab, Die spook, Vlooi, My dolla is ‘n loskop, Kiewiet, Kappit yt, Byt vissie byt and Bloubergstrand


• 1948 – Die Kaskenades van Dr Kwak
• 1949 – Kom Saam Vanaand
• 1965 – Die Wonderwêreld van Kammie Kamfer
• 1950 – Hier’s Ons Weer
• 1951 – Alles Sal Regkom
• 1957 – Dis Lekker om te Lewe
• 1960 – Hou die Blinkkant Bo
• 1958 – Fratse in die Vloot
• 1952 – Altyd in my Drome
• 1957 – Donker Afrika
• 1961 – Boerboel De Wet / Private Eye
• 1962 – Gevaarlike Spel / Dangerous Deals
• 1962 – Tom, Dirk en Herrie
• 1962 – Die Geheim van Onderplaas
• 1969 – Stadig oor die Klippe
• 1975 – Kniediep
• 1974 – Pens en Pootjies
• 1976 - Haak Vrystaat
• 2004 - Oh Shucks I’m Gatvol
Television programmes and special awards
1981 – Attie en Joos (Attie and Joos)
1994 – Guest artist on Noot vir Noot (music quiz programme on television)
1996 – First of the guest artists at Oudtshoorn
              Release first CD – Ek lewe nog
              Former Minister Hendrik Schoeman unveils a commemorative broach
              in honour of Debbo’s 50 years in the entertainment industry
2003 – Special honourary award in Rustenburg
2005 – SAMA lifetime award for contribution to South African music industry
2007 – KykNet honours Deboo with the documentary Koning van komedie (King of comedy)


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Born shortly before the Great Depression, the would-be film maker grew up in an orphanage in Cape Town. Retief escaped the orphanage’s sad reality through flights of fantasy – painting and the arts. Having matriculated in 1943 his first job was that of messenger in the National Assembly. His love for arts and entertainment led him to join the traveling theatre troupe, the Hanekom-teatergeselskap. By 1952 he had been working for the National Theatre Organization when the many years on the road finally got to him. He found work at the radio service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In 1955 he wrote a short story, Die Stil Plek (The Silent Place)for Die Huisgenoot and quickly established himself as a highly productive storyteller. His first radio-serial, Die Konsertinakoning (The Concertina King)was a big hit. In 1960 his radio story Die Vlakte Duskant Hebron (The Plain At The Other Side Of Hebron)cemented him as a masterful writer (it was later developed as a television series). Staal Burger, Retief’s spy story for radio, was undoubtedly his most popular radio series and was also later turned into a successful feature film (by Retief). In the late 1960s Jamie Uys convinced Retief to venture into films. Subsequently Constantia Films - an affiliate of Mimosa Films - was formed. Breekpunt (Breaking Point)was his first feature. The radioman’s storytelling skills worked just as well on the silver screen and he made one after the other hit – including Salomien (1972), Jamie21 (1973), Soekie (1975), Die Rebel (1976), Sonja (1978), Night of the Puppets (1979), Beloftes van More (1981).In the early 1980s Retief ventured into television. Trans-Karoo, Jasper Lefeuvre, Klaradyn and the Seders van Lebanon are just some of the acclaimed and popular series he created. Whether radio, TV or film – Retief had an undisputed Midas touch when it came to storytelling. He passed away in 1990.

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Born in 1924, Dirk de Villiers can easily lay claim to the title of being the South African filmmaker with the longest professional career. His career started as an actor in productions such as Ivan Hall’s Kruger Millions in which he played a member of the Cavalier suicide commando who attempts to derail the plans to mint the gold coins by disposing of them in the Blyde River Canyon. His first feature film as director was in the light comedy Jy Is My Liefling, starring Franz Marx (also in his first film role) and Min Shaw. He followed this up with one of his finest films, Die Geheim Van Nantes, an adaptation of the famous Springbok Radio serial. Dirk de Villiers was honoured at the 2008 Klein Karoo Arts Festival for his contribution to the South African film industry.

He went on to make 23 feature films, 13 documentaries and a phenomenal 25 television series.

De Villiers passed away in 2009.

Films produced/directed:

. That Englishwoman
. Virgin Goddess
. Diamond Hunter
. Decision to Die
. Tant Ralie se Losieshuis
. My naam is Dingetjie
. Daan en Doors op die Diggings
. Charlie word ‘n Ster
. Jy is my Liefling
. Met Liefde van Adele
. Die Geheim van Nantes
. My Broer se Bril
. Witblits en Peach Brandy
. Dingetjie en Idi
. Die Wit Sluier
. Die Lewe Sonder Jou
. Spaanse Vlieg
. Arende: Die Rolprent
. A New Life
. Pens en Pootjies
. Die Drie van der Merwes
. Kalahari Harry
. Kaalgat Tussen die Daisies

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How did he get started in films? In his final school year, his father bought a 16mm film camera. During the July holiday, Elmo gathered some of his friends to make a short film, which earned him an award from the Pretoria Cine Club.

Not soon after his first foray into filming, Jamie Uys met with Elmo’s father in an effort to sell shares in his film company. Elmo’s father told him about his son’s passion and Jamie took the time to watch the young man’s film, which led to Elmo being offered a job in Johannesburg.

On the set of Jamie’s film GELD SOOS BOSSIES, Jok Uys, Jamie’s brother, was the camera man. However, he also had to act in the film. This led to Elmo becoming stand-in camera man. They were so impressed by Elmo’s skill as camera man that he got to film the rest of the movie and was credited as camera man once the film was completed!

JABULANI AFRIKA was a short film made by Elmo and Jock Uys. For Jamie’s DIE BOSVELDER, Elmo was camera man again.

With Jamie’s business expanding, Elmo soon got his first taste of directing when he was appointed as director for SATANSKORAAL. He was 23 years old at the time! It was a complex film with several aerial shots, as well as underwater filming of choral reefs and submarines and action scenes in the marshes of Inhaka Island off the coast of Mozambique. Elmo also edited this film.

He also acted as editor of DOODKRY IS MIN (a film on the history of Afrikaans).

Then came DEBBIE. Although the movie was a huge success, it was so controversial that an initial age restriction of 16 was later upped to 21. The age restriction was lifted later and the movie could be shown without restrictions.

His third solo film, HOOR MY LIED, with singer Gé Korsten as leading man, earned a million rand – incredible in a time when movie tickets cost a mere 45 cents. In today’s terms (ticket sales), this film would have earned R35 million. With HOOR MY LIED, Elmo also became director (head of production) at Kavalier Films.

When Jamie Uys left the company, and following Elmo’s film DIE KAVALIERS, he became co-director of the film company Kavalier Films. He made several movies for Kavalier Films, including THE LAST LION (a Wilbur Smith story with the British actor Jack Hawkins in the lead) as well as SIEN JOU MÔRE.

In 1973, with the film SNIP EN RISSIEPIT, a new team got together: Elmo de Witt and Jan Scholtz. In the same year, Elmo established his own film company, Elmo de Witt Films, after being in the film industry for 19 years. In 1974, he made MÔRE, MÔRE. It was a huge success and positioned Elmo’s new company to become one of the most successful film companies in South Africa’s history.

Then followed LIEFSTE VEERTJIE, KWIKSTERTJIE and ‘N BEELD VIR JEANNIE. In VERGEET MY NIE, Elmo discovered the talent of international film star Alice Krige and placed her on the road to stardom. TER WILLE VAN CHRISTINE has earned more money in the first week of release than any other local movie.

In 1977, Elmo and Jamie Uys got together again to work on MOOIMEISIESFONTEIN, IEMAND SOOS JY (with former Miss World Anneline Kriel in the lead) and GRENSBASIS 13. 

Then followed YOU MUST BE JOKING, a collaboration with Toron Films (with Leon Schuster in the lead). It was a candid camera type film which broke all local records for a first release with its earnings of R5 million! This film also had huge success on the international circuit.

With the arrival of television in South Africa, local directors were asked to produce material for television. Elmo immediately got involved. In the years following the introduction of television in SA, he created and produced television series such as THE SETTLERS, TOWN GUARD, CITY PEOPLE and TAAKMAG. Initially, he also produced SHAKA ZULU (which was released internationally), as well as HOEKIE VIR EENSAMES, MOORDSPELETJIES and several others. Together with Telecip France, he made the series HERITAGE, which was released internationally as REAP THE WHIRLWIND.

In 1988, Elmo de Witt Films made the international film WILDE ZONE (an African adventure thriller) as well as ACCIDENTS (a spy thriller). His third international film, ENEMY UNSEEN, was filmed in 1989.

His last film as editor was TOLLA IS TOPS, another candid camera movie, but with a strong South African flavour with local funny man Tolla van der Merwe in the lead.
Apart from the financial success of his films, Elmo was also known throughout the industry as “the man with an eye for talent”. Not only did he discover several actors and actresses, but he also gave many of today’s well-known directors and editors their first taste of the film industry, and also trained many of them.

Apart from ALICE KRIGE (whom he discovered while she was still a student at Rhodes University), he is also credited with discovering HANS STRYDOM, SYBIL COETZEE, RIKA SENNET and many others. He was also the first to work with LEON SCHUSTER and ANNELINE KRIEL.

Some of the well-known editors who cut their teeth at Elmo de Witt Films are Danie Joubert, Manie van Rensburg, Gray Hofmeyer, William Faure and Sias Odendaal. 

Hit films with Elmo as director

SATANSKORAAL (at age 23)
HOOR MY LIED (with Gé Korsten)

IEMAND SOOS JY (SOMEONE LIKE YOU) – released internationally
YOU MUST BE JOKING (the first film with Leon Schuster)
Also released internationally
YOU MUST BE JOKING TOO (also with Leon Schuster)
TOLLA IS TOPS (with Tolla van der Merwe) 



(not a complete list)

SHAKA ZULU (released internationally)
HERITAGE / REAP THE WHIRLWIND (released internationally by Telecip)



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Emil Nofal was born in South Africa in 1926

Filmmaker Emil Nofal teamed up with Jans Rautenbach in 1964 to form a production company.  Their collaboration aroused the ire of conservative South Africans and the constant suspicions of censors who did not catch the heavily disguised meaning of their highly symbolic allegories.  Like many other South African filmmakers, the two use many stereotypes; unlike their peers, they use the creatively in their stories to make their point.

Prior to the collaboration with Jans Rautenbach, Nofal has been a documentarian known for his frequent clashes with the Publications Control Board, the National Party, and the Dutch Reformed Church.


• 1951 – Song of Africa   (Director)
• 1960 – Rip van Wyk   (Director)
• 1962 – Lord Oom Piet   (Writer)
  Voor Sononder  (Writer / Director)
• 1965 – Kimberley Jim   (Writer / Director / Producer)
  After You, Comrade  (Actor)
• 1967 - Wild Season   (Writer / Director)
• 1968 – Die Kandidaat   (Writer / Producer)
• 1969 – Katrina    (Writer / Producer)
• 1973 – The Winners / My Way (Writer / Director / Producer)
  Ongewenste Vreemdeling (Producer)
• 1979 – The Fifth Season  (Producer)
• 1980 – The Super-Jocks  (Director)
• 1985 – You’re in the Movies  (Director)
• 1987 – You Gotta be Crazy  (Director)

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Ivan Hall commenced his film career with the newly renamed Kavalier Film Productions with the production of the Anglo Boer War drama / musical The Kruger Millions in 1967, which starred Leon Le Roux, Helga van Wyk, Carel Trichardt and Dirk de Villiers. Kruger Millions was a sequel to the earlier film Die Kavaliers which was directed by Elmo de Witt and released in 1966.

He then quickly attained the status of director in residence at the Kavaliers Studios situated on Aasvoëlkop, Randburg and thus went on to direct a string of successful films across all of the different genres for Kavaliers, including Dr Kalie (1968) with Siegfried Mynhardt and Brian O’Shaughnessy, Lied In My Hart (1970) with Gé Korsten and the former Miss South Africa, Mitsi Stander, Vicki, (1970),the police themed films Flying Squad, Gold Squad, (both released in 1971) Lokval in Venesië with Ge Korsten, Karate Olympia (the first African martial arts film, released in 1976) and the political thriller Funeral For An Assassin with Vic Morrow ~ which was banned in 1974 by the then all powerful South African censors for no apparent reason and then unbanned just as quickly, again for no apparent reason.

Aside from his work with Kavaliers, he also directed the film Aanslag Op Kariba in 1973 ~ the sequel to Brigadiers Films’ enormously successful film Kaptein Caprivi.

Ivan Hall’s greatest success as a filmmaker came in 1981 when his martial arts film Kill & Kill Again, (the sequel to his earlier film Karate Olympia) became a major international box-office success both in the USA and in the Far East. This film reached number one on the USA Variety box-office list and made an instant star out of its’ lead actor, James Ryan, who had also starred in Karate Olympia.

Ivan Hall went on to make the films The Riverman with Michael Parks, Skollie with George Ballot and Trackers with Craig Wasson and Henry Cele.

Ivan Hall was honoured by the National Film, Video and Sound Archives, the Volksbladfees Directorate and the Mimosa Film Productions Directorate in June 2007 for his invaluable contributions to the South African film industry.

Mr Hall will be greatly missed by all his colleagues and friends in the South African film industry.

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For the past 30 years, Jan Scholtz has been active in the film industry following his initial entry into the industry as a writer. Since the early 1970s he has received several awards for his work, including a Star Award, an Artes for Jopie Fourie, two Rapport Oscars, two Star Tonight awards, four South African Academy awards and two ATKV awards. He has been nominated six times for an Artes.

Jan grew up at Noupoort in the Karoo, as well as in Witbank and Boksburg. After matriculating from Voortrekker High School, he studied at the University of Potchefstroom before going into teaching.

Jan was one of the first directors and writers for an Afrikaans television series, Keertyd. In 1975 he established his own film company.

In 1983, he married Michelle van Niekerk, and they are the parents of twin boys, Carl and Maynard.

Jan is the writer and/or director of 21 feature films, including: Other films:
• Ter wille van Christene
• ‘n Beeld vir Jeannie
• Diamant en die dief
• Die eensame vlug
• Die winter van 14 Julie
• Herfsland
• Kiepie en Kandas
• April 1980
• Magic is alive, my friends
• The emissary
• Môre, Môre
• Snip en Rissiepit
• Sien jou môre
• Liefste Veertjie
• Daar kom Tant Alie
• Vergeet my nie
• Springbok
• ‘n Sondag in September
• Skelms
• Dada en die flower
• Paradise Road


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Uys had the most expensive lips in South Africa. When exposed to the unforgiving African sun, his lower lip would burst open. Not only was this painful, it was costly too. The actor/director couldn’t work with a painful lip, thus production would have to be postponed which in turn led to the costs ballooning. Mimosa had the offending lip insured for a small fortune. Luckily his lower lip was never held for ransom!

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