She is white, of German descent, has Jewish ancestors and was raised as a Christian. Her name is Helen Zille, and she has been battling Apartheid and its consequences all her life. Now she fights at the head of a liberal South African party against racism, poverty and corruption in all their forms. For three years she was the only white mayor on the entire continent, in a city where the legacy of Apartheid was particularly strongly felt: Cape Town. 

Then in April of 2009 she was elected with an overwhelming majority to the office of Premier of the Western Cape Province, economically the richest region in South Africa – a sensation, since it puts the 58-year-old at the head of the only region in the country which is not in the hands of the African National Congress (ANC) and makes her the strongest opponent of the controversial new president, Jacob Zuma. Thus it is hardly surprising that Ms. Zille's enemies call her "the GodZille monster", while her supporters celebrate her as "Helen of Hope".

The film closely accompanies Helen Zille in her everyday struggle. In 2009 and 2010 director Birgit Schulz has shared the most important events in Zille’s life and captured them on film; the bond of trust has become so strong that even the Premier's 90-year-old mother was willing to share her personal insights. The result is an intensive and intimate look at the private context for Ms. Zille's public political battle and an exciting look at South Africa's hopeful but still fragile young democracy.

45 min./ 30 min./ 52 min.

Director: Birgit Schulz
Photograher: Bernd Weber
Sound: Hilton Auffray
Editor: Birgit Köster
Production Manager: Monika Mack, Nicole Deblaere (NDR)
Producer: Birgit Schulz, Sabine de Mardt
Commissioning Editor: Monika Schäfer (NDR/ARTE), Maren Niemeyer (NDR/ARTE)
Head of Departement: Ulrike Dotzer
World Sales: United Docs

For NDR in cooperation with ARTE 2010

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