Poppie Nongena tells the story of a South African woman, an Afrikaans speaking Xhosa mother, whose life revolves around her family and finding stability in a period of insufferable upheaval in the country. When her husband, Stone, became too ill to work, Poppie was deemed by the law to be an "illegal" resident in her own country. She engaged in a desperate struggle with the authorities for permission to stay, moving from house to house, applying for permits, applying for extensions, extensions of extensions, and using every means at her disposal to remain with her children. Caught in the cross fire of her children's needs, her husband's illness, community anger and repressive laws, she was finally forced to give in just as the 1976 riots for freedom erupted.
Helena Spring Films