10 Questions For: Jolynn Minnaar

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10 Questions For: Jolynn Minnaar

The director of controversial fracking documentary Unearthed, this fearless filmmaker and 2014 Glamour Women of the Year title-holder uses her camera to encourage change on local lands

1. How would you describe what you do for a living?
I sit on the outside looking in, trying to make sense of the world. And on my breaks, I am a director, writer and cinematographer loving every day of my crazy, colourful career. I don't think many get rich in this field, but you sure will have some great stories for the grandkids. 

2.  What is your most vivid childhood memory?
My sister, who’s older than me, used to dunk her rusks in my tea because she didn't like getting soggy bits at the bottom of her mug. Also, throughout my childhood, my dad could never figure out the mystery of his missing number 17 spanner. Dad, if you’re reading this, I was trying to fix the sheep trough. 

3.  If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?
This might be one hotchpotch sitting, but a) Wangari Maathai, to hear her speak about the decentralised solutions for our continent and the importance of empowering women in Africa; b) my uncle, who passed away a few years ago, just to laugh and smile, like in the good old days, one more time; and c) David Bowie/Tilda Swinton, the genius and the muse.

4. If you ever found yourself auditioning for a music reality TV show, what song would you sing and why?
Something by Bach. Not having to sing would create more room for me to showcase my interpretative dancing. 

5.  How would you complete this sentence? The South African cabinet should include a Minister of _______.
Hold up! We need fewer ministers (and less exorbitant spend), more accountability.

6.  What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?
That I was named after Dolly Parton’s song ‘Jolene (unless people are just always looking for an excuse to sing upon introduction?).

7.  What is your (honest) opinion of Cape Town?
For those living in the city, there are many different Cape Towns. Some versions are very easy to live in; others require walking to fetch clean water. And because of all these segregated spaces, if we don’t take an honest look at what is happening on the ground, Cape Town is at risk of growing apart. 

8.  What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
The fear of what other people think, and the fear of letting go and deciding my work is done.  

9.  What's the one thing you'd like to achieve before you die?
Sort out SABC and Eskom. End the flow of plastic into the ocean. Make it cool to care. Learn to surf. For once, win a death stare contest. 

10.  Which well-known South African personality would you, without a doubt, be able to beat in a street fight and why? 
Steve Hofmeyr, because he looks back to try move forward. 

Watch the official trailer for Unearthed


ABOUT #CapeTownMag10Q:’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-known and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates


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If you like what Jolynn Minnaar is doing behind the camera, then perhaps Dayana Dreke and Tresor Ilunga Mukuna's story of their year-long adventure through Africa to promote the African philosopy of Ubuntu will tickle your fancy too. 


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