The We Will Remember documentary initiative has come to Africa to record South African veterans who served during the Second Word War.
Founded in 2017, We Will Remember is an umbrella name for an ongoing documentary initiative, born out of concern for the drastic rate at which Second World War veterans are fading away.
Founded by 30-year old historian and film maker, Chris Dennett, the project has gone international to bring light to WW2 stories that are at great risk of imminently being lost. Since 2017, Chris has interviewed and filmed British, American, German, Romanian and now South African veterans. These stories have ranged from a 105-year old Japanese prisoner of war who invented the pollen count and worked under Alexander Fleming; to a 99-year old Lebanese prince-cum-Colonel whose unit solely held the line during the Battle of the Bulge.
As diverse as the stories are, there is one unifying theme: to distil the experiences and memories of the Second World War generation into wisdom for younger generations, of which the distance between these generations is growing every day, Dennett said.
The idea and drive for the project was conceived during an isolated drive Dennett took throughout Namibia as part of a backpacking trip across Southern Africa. This was brought on by the awareness that a huge number of Africans made great sacrifices during the conflict, on both the Allied and Axis sides, and yet their stories are relatively untold. Dennett has since been determined to shine a light upon them.
Since February 2019, We Will Remember returned to Cape Town to establish roots on the continent. Dennett is returning to Europe to make a film about the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, but in a few months, We Will Remember will be travelling the expanse of South Africa in response to great interest from remaining South African veterans.
Up until this point, the project has been entirely self-funded, running mainly on passion and in honour of Dennett’s great-grandfather who perished just prior to the Battle of Monte Cassino. We Will Remember is now working to seek funding to sustain the project for as long as WW2 veterans remain alive.
From South Africa to Zimbabwe to Kenya, We Will Remember is calling out to WW2 veterans who remain on the continent, to participate and share their story for posterity. Once enough are sourced in each country, We Will Remember will then prioritise travel accordingly.