Angels in the Dust
Angels In the Dust is the inspiring story of Marion Cloete, a university-trained therapist who—with her husband and two daughters—fearlessly walked away from a privileged life in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb to establish Boikarabelo (formerly Botshabelo), an extraordinary village and school that provide shelter, food, and education to more than 550 South African children.
The tale of Marion and the orphans she cares for is echoed in a dramatic parallel saga of the orphaned elephants of Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. The longtime government practice of culling— killing adult elephants to control herd sizes—tore apart the complex social fabric of elephant culture, a fabric that is not unlike that of the traditionally close-knit African village. As a result, orphaned elephants grew up exhibiting unusually violent behavior, such as attacking and goring rhinos. But elder elephants were recently introduced into the Pilanesberg population to resocialize the young. The experiment is working—and it offers a resonant reflection of the healing taking place for the human children being “reparented” by Marion at Boikarabelo (formerly Botshabelo).
Angels In the Dust is the story of a courageous, self-sacrificing, fiercely loving woman who chooses a spiritual path over a material one; it tells of the life-changing power of one compassionate heart. For a nation overwhelmed by an epidemic of HIV/AIDS, orphans, rape, violence, and Apartheid’s legacy of social and political unrest, the film offers a clear pathway of hope and a replicable paradigm for the future.