Challenging the Mythical Boer Hero Archetype in Anglo-Boer War Short Films


Author: Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Email: [email protected]
Published: November 12, 2018

Citation: Jansen van Vuuren, A. (2018). Challenging the Mythical Boer Hero Archetype in Anglo-Boer War Short Films. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 3(2).


According to Roland Barthes, archetypical myths and folktales were used in the past to order chaos and gain insight into life. At present, it is mostly the media that represent certain ideologies and therefore directly or indirectly “give an insight” into the lives of the citizens of that society. Therefore, this article will focus on the role of the archetypical representation of the hero archetype in short films; and how this ideological representation “gives one an insight” into the society in which these films were created. The case studies selected for this article are three short films set against the backdrop of the Anglo-Boer War: Commando (2009), Bloedson (2013) and Adventures of the Boer War (2011–2014). The author uses narrative analysis combined with open-ended interviews conducted with the creators of the selected short films to analyse their intention to construct the hero archetype in a specific way. At the end of the article her argument is that these three case studies use avant-garde techniques to challenge the traditional way that the Boer hero is represented in Anglo-Boer War films. Through representing this archetypical hero in a different way, the filmmakers are demonstrating to us how South-African society has changed since the fall of Apartheid, although one does see in popular culture that some white Afrikaner are still yearning for their so-called “age of innocence”.


representation, ideology, South Africa, Boer, war, zombie, historical film