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In Cape Town’s informal settlements, the government never built a sewage system, hence the absence of flush toilets. Each inhabitant must therefore devise an individualised solution to dispose of their excrement. Excretapolitics is an impressionistic documentary composed of portraits & witnessings of the residents facing this infrastructural injustice.

Genre: Documentary

Languages: Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, Sesotho

Duration: 114 min

Year: 2024


Joburg Film Festival 2024

Lagos iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival 2024

Tënk streaming platform (currently streaming, until the end of August 2024)

Director  Yoel Meranda

Producers  Xavier Rocher (La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma, France)

Yoel Meranda (Kamara, Turkey)

Co-Producers  Bongiwe Selane (Blingola Media, South Africa)

Kristina Konrad (Welt Film, Germany)

Cast List (in order of appearance): Nokonwaba Mbotshwa, Louisa Theron, Stjhaba Kolanchu (Sizwe), Anezwa Fetile, Nosipho Klaas, Shadrack Shooter Dano, Singilizwe Booi, Zukiswa Qezo, Mike P Phindile, Sisipho Filane, Lilitha Filane

Inspired by Masixole Feni’s photographs

Project Consultant  Masixole Feni

Assistant Director  Nahum Thulani Deke

Editors  Tsholofelo Monare, Yoel Meranda

Translators  Biko Ngcobo, Enathi Mqokeli

Graphic Design  Sonwabo Valashiya

Sound Editing & Mix  Emmanuel Soland

Color Grading  Olivier Dassonville

Financed by CNC, CNAP, Tënk, Procirep-Angoa in France                  

Yeni Film Fonu in Turkey




Stills, Poster, Crew Photos & excerpt here:

Director Bio

Yoel Meranda was born in Istanbul in 1981. Four of his experimental videos were screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. His videos have also screened at international festivals such as Edinburgh, Thessaloniki, Douarnenez and Lucca. His video installations were presented at New York White Box Gallery, Basilica Cistern, Goethe-Institut Istanbul, and Pera Museum. He produced Albüm which won the Visionary Award at the Critics’ Week at Cannes 2016 and Best Feature Film at Sarajevo. Also produced the documentary The Pageant which premiered in international competition at Visions du Réel 2020 and distributed by Grasshopper Films in North America. Yoel was selected for the Moulin d’Andé writing residency in 2018 for his first feature fiction film project, a contemporary adaptation of Balzac.

Director's Short Filmography

saldım çayıra... (my herd on a meadow...), experimental video, sound, 6 min, 2011
Commissioned for 2011 !f Istanbul & Ankara
2016 Douarnenez Festival de Cinéma

highway screening, experimental video, silent, 2 min, 2010
2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival - Experimental

moonalphabet, experimental video, silent, 2 min, 2010
2010 Thessaloniki International Film Festival - Last Year's Resolutions

straitscaping, experimental video, silent, 1 min, 2010
2010 Toronto International Film Festival

rauscht, experimental video, silent, 1 min, 2010
2010 Toronto International Film Festival

ascents in february, experimental video, sound, 3 min, 2010
2010 Toronto International Film Festival

not be or..., experimental video, silent, 2 min, 2009
2010 Toronto International Film Festival

Director's Note

I come from Turkey, a country where infrastructural injustices abound. But when I first heard about the lack of sanitary toilets in the informal settlements of South Africa and the vast scale of the problem — which affects hundreds of thousands of people just around Cape Town — I had to stop and think. Until then, I had never considered the inequality of access to sanitary toilets as a human right violation. Nor had I ever heard of toilets being used as a protest technique, as in the Poo Protests. The subject intrigued me as a filmmaker. I thus begin reading up on the political history of South Africa and neo-colonialism. However, a few fundamental questions persisted through time: Should this movie be made? Would the residents of the informal settlements want this film made? And of course, as I'm not from the informal settlements or even South Africa: should I take part in making this film? Questions that any number of words on a page would never be able to address.


So in December 2017, after having contacted the assistant director Nahum Thulani Deke and photojournalist Masixole Feni (who had been documenting the matter for GroundUp), I decided to fly to Cape Town and meet with the residents of the informal settlements to ask them what they thought about all this. Their answers, each with their own powerful personality, is what constitutes Excretapolitics. It was their passion for expressing themselves in front of the camera that made the film. During the editing with Tsholofelo Monare and producer Bongiwe Selane, we tried to open the greatest possible space for their voices. In our view, what Nokonwaba, Louisa, Sizwe, Anezwa, Nosipho, Shooter, Singilizwe, Zukiswa, Mike, Sisipho and Lilitha had to tell us has a great urgency — and not only concerning South Africa.

(For more info on the director)

Producer Bongiwe Selane's Note

When Yoel first spoke to me about this project, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to get involved and that the story of the residents of Khayelitsha had to be told. I was drawn to the project because it spoke to how my country had somehow failed to deliver on the promise made at the end of Apartheid by our founding fathers, to ensure dignity to the black majority of South Africa.

The story that resonated with me is that of 6-year-old Michael Komape from Chebeng village in Limpopo Province, who in 2014 fell into a pit toilet at his school and died, this shocking story making news headlines around the country, and highlighting the lack of basic service delivery to marginalised communities. And in the Western Cape Province, Siphesihle Mbango from Khayelitsha was just six years old when her friend, Asenathi disappeared and was never seen again when she left her classroom to go outside to releave herself in the bushes. They live in one of the world’s biggest slums and must rely on inadequate temporary toilets like porta potties or chemical toilets to relieve themselves, while others have no access at all and have to use the fields or bushes. Using a toilet in informal settlements like Khayelitsha has become one of the most dangerous activities for residents, particularly women and children. So much so that protest for basic services to the black communities has become a daily accordance and many have been injured and killed while protesting for their rights to water and sanitation.

In the film, Yoel frees up space for dialogue with the characters, allowing them to tell their story in the most honest way and to share their truth. Furthermore, he manages to give them dignity – that inherent worth and value that is a birth-right to every human being but has been denied to the residents of this community. At its core “Excretapolitics” highlights the plight of the marginalized in South Africa, where leaders are driven by greed for massive profit and rely on offering undignified, inferior and temporary solutions instead of long-term solutions to its people.


Yoel Meranda (Kamara)


Xavier Rocher (La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma)

Bongiwe Selane (Blingola Media)

Kristina Konrad (Welt Film)


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