First PE showing brings story of rape, survival back to its origin
Port Elizabeth movie-goers were left horrified and inspired last night after seeing the local premiere of Alison Botha’s miraculous survival story. The first Port Elizabeth showing of Alison The Movie has brought this story, of her vicious rape and attempted murder, full circle by returning to the city where the entire incident took place.
Speaking at a question-and-answer session after the showing at Nu Metro Walmer Park, Botha said her story was meant to inspire others and to show that miracles could come from tragic events.
She did, however, say more needed to be done to fight similar crimes in South Africa.
“I don’t see the stats changing. More needs to be done to support victims and survivors, and we need to make sure that these people are well looked after when they come forward,” Botha said.
The documentary-style film showed a graphic account of the night in December 1994 when Botha, then Collier, was hijacked, taken to a remote location along the Port Elizabeth beachfront and raped by Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger.
They then stabbed her multiple times and slit her throat, leaving her to die.
She, however, managed to get to the road, where veterinarian student Tiaan Eilard found her. The film shows her road to recovery and how she travelled across the world to tell her story to inspire others.
Du Toit was sentenced to three life sentences, while Kruger received one life sentence plus 25 years behind bars.
Eilard was part of a panel of role players who assisted in Botha’s recovery and the trial that sent Du Toit and Kruger to prison.
It included Dr David Comyn, who was part of her lifesaving operation, Melvin Humpel, the lead detective in her case, then public prosecutor Hannelie Bakker and the film’s producer and director, Uga Carlini.
Carlini said the film had taken four years to make and one of the hardest things she had to endure was a request from Du Toit to be part of the film and to share in the profits of Botha’s book that was published in 1998.
“He is in prison, but he told me he could not wait to make a blockbuster movie with me and he wanted a cut of the profits,” she said.
It was decided not to include him because “there is too much obsession with what makes a person like that” and she had no interest in telling his side of the story.
While the film is fairly graphic, it was toned down significantly from the actual event because they still wanted a wide audience to have access to it.
“And we want as many people as possible to watch it,” Carlini said.
Botha said: “It does not have to be as horrendous as what I went through, but I hope my story can give them strength to deal with whatever they are going through.”