Zulfah Otto Sallies (1961-2016) – Acclaimed Bo-Kaap filmmaker, writer and playwright has passed away
Source: SABC News Western Cape, 9 July 2016
The death of prominent Bo-Kaap film-maker and writer, Zulfah Otto-Sallies, has been greeted with sadness and shock. She died yesterday at the age of 55, after suffering complications due to a stroke. Otto-Sallies was an influential figure in the Cape Town film and art industry. She wrote the well known theatre production 'Diekie vannie Bokaap' which was later turned into a book. Her later works include a short film, 'Raya', and a documentary titled 'Through the Eyes of my Daughter'. TV producer, Jackie Lourens, who has known Otto-Sallies for 20 years, says she was an activist who stood up for women and her community. "She was a strong character who wasn't scared to speak out on subjects and matters and felt passionate about it. But with that was a lovely personality. She was loved by most people. I think she put the Muslim woman on the map. All the stigma's, Zulfah showed you could still be very much a woman with a strong culture and beliefs and you can still be part of the bigger community."
She had this to say during an interview with me for the African Women in Cinema Blog in 2011:
I grew up in a society that was culturally very strong. The Cape Malay identity was engrained into our psyche it gave us a sense of belonging and assurance that our culture was an important one. It was a case of having a thousand mothers. Where every mother in the neighbourhood could reprimand you, check that you tow the line. Neighbours played an important role in our upbringing. Every home in the neighborhood was one that you could frequent as your own. A place to hide when your parents were angry with you, a place where lending a cup of sugar, a tomato was a common phenomenon. Religion is the backbone of the culture and forms the basis of the moral values of the Malay culture. The Cape Malay culture for me meant very much there is a time and place for everything. New Years Eve meant standing in Wale Street watching the Malay choirs parade. 2nd New Year saw the Cape Minstrels parade. These cultural events shaped the Bo-Kaap, that still boast as one of the safest areas in Cape Town. I started to read the works of Rumi as a teenager and could then not understand much. These works inspired me so much that I resorted to writing poetry at a very young age. Mystical poets began to shape my love for literature. I would later venture into various art forms, writing of novels, short stories, film scripts, plays and later resort to making my own films. It is my passion for Bo-Kaap, a place where I still reside that makes waking up in the morning pure bliss when you have the privilege of waking up to Table Mountains greetings of the day.
Read the entire interview with Beti Ellerson at : http://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2011/10/zulfah-otto-sallies-filming-bo-kaap.html