Black Mambas

  • Lena Karbe
  • Germany, France
  • 2022
  • 81 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

A contemplative, patiently crafted portrait of three members of the Black Mambas, an ambitious group of South African women who protect Big Five game animals from poachers in Kruger National Park. It’s a dream job that empowers women, or so it seems. But does the organization—run by white and mostly male compatriots—see them primarily as a marketing tool?

While the founder of the Black Mambas extols the virtues of tourism and the economic impulse it provides, his female employees know from experience that neighboring communities don’t benefit. When we see them at home, we find out that the men in their families can’t find jobs, meaning huge pressures fall on the women’s shoulders.

Little by little this film, which won awards at CPH:DOX and other festivals, presents a complex picture of the shady side of nature conservation. Besides the three women, who each have a different perspective on their position, we also hear from a man driven to poaching by hunger. In between, the founder perfectly encapsulates the ambivalence of his organization with the observation that Kruger Park is the last bastion of old colonial attitudes.


  • 81 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English, Afrikaans, Tsonga
  • Subtitles in: English
Lena Karbe
Lena Karbe for Karbe Film GmbH, Jan Vasak for Day for Night Productions, Ramadan Suleman for Natives At Large
Mateusz Smolka
Georg Michael Fischer
George Ramosime

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