Minister Pallo Jordan on South African Producer, Don Edkins and Director Alex Gibney Winning an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature: A Taxi to the dark side at the 80th academy awards

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25 Feb 2008

On behalf of the South African Government, the Ministry of Arts & Culture and in my personal capacity, I would like to congratulate director Alex Gibney and Cape Town film maker, Don Edkins on winning the Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature: “Taxi to the Dark Side” at the 80th Academy Awards in Hollywood.

This is achievement by a disciplined and focused South African film maker, Mr. Don Edkins and his American counterpart Gibney, has placed them in a position to play a powerful and influential role in the development of African story telling.

This splendid achievement, inevitably, is destined to make a significant contribution to the development and growth of indigenous African film and has once again showcased South African talent on the international movie scene.

Mr. Edkins and Mr. Gibney’s achievement is more meaningful as it was part of a 10 part series on “Why Democracy?” to highlight and celebrate this form of government. Significantly, the documentary raises profound questions about political accountability and the illegitimate use of torture on prisoners.

This story, torn from the pages of life,  focuses on the late Afghani taxi driver, Dilawer, who was detained without trial by the United States military. He later died in detention.

It is not only proper for the entire film loving community of the country, the continent and the world to toast its success for using the arts to draw public attention to an ongoing abuse in the hope that such exposure will help create a world with a more human face.

In my personal capacity I want to thank Don Edkins and Alex Gibney and  express how deeply we have been moved by his marvelous tribute and his portrayal of the life of the ordinary man who is the face of global humanity.  The whole of world has recognized the travails of the human spirit and the innate goodness of ordinary people who are caught in the cross fire of war. This is the unmistakable golden thread that connects humanity all over the world.

The story of “Taxi to the Dark Side” speaks to millions of people who are able to see their own lives told in a heart-searing manner. This documentary is the voice of conscience to the world’s leaders and provides inspiration to the all of humanity by making us aware that in war there are no winners.

The achievement of Edkins and Gibney, their talent, energy and determination has, once again, re-ignited our confidence and pride in South Africa’s creative output and its ability to capture the imagination of the world.

From this vantage point we can only move upward. This significant milestone is a meaningful addition to the international acclaim won by numerous South African film creatives in the last few years. To Don Edkins and Alex Gibney we say: The Government of the people stands solidly behind you and will support you in all your endeavors to contribute towards global social cohesion and international unity.

Thank you very much for making us take a giant leap into the future. The whole of the African continent celebrates and is very proud and happy for you.

For further details, call Sandile Memela, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Arts & Culture at 082 800 3750 or Premi Appalraju, Media Liaison Officer at 082 903 6778