Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Rough Aunties 2008

Directed by Kim Longinotto

Admiring portrait of South African women’s organisation Bobbi Bear, which fights to repair the damage caused by child sexual abuse. By acclaimed UK documentarian Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law).

UK In English and Zulu
103 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Photography


Ollie Huddleston


Mary Milton


Jackie Branfield
Eureka Oliver
Mildred Ngcobo
Studla Maphumulo
Thuli Sibiya


Amsterdam Documentary 2008; Sundance 2009


Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law) brings her admiring observational eye to bear on a South African organisation called Bobbi Bear, a collective of women, black and white who fight to repair the damage caused by child sexual abuse and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. The efforts of these six ‘rough aunties’, some of whom have suffered abuse themselves, go some way towards raising awareness that the ‘macho South African male’ must be challenged. They are severely under-resourced and so painfully aware that some of the children who come into their care will find themselves back within the family folds where so many crimes originate. Longinotto is a kind of aunty herself, someone with whom these formidable women can be totally candid, staunch, shattered, yet never completely daunted. A level of violence seems to be part of ordinary life here, but despite scenes that make for almost unbearable viewing, the film also tells a story of empowerment engendered by community and shared experience. — SR