Maverick Life

This Weekend We’re Watching

What the Health, Sense8 and Vaselinetjie

Settle down for a bit of propaganda, some hard-to-follow but exciting series and some local flavour.

What the Health

If you enjoy a bit of propaganda, you’ll love this film. Described as “pro-vegan” by some reviewers, the 92-minute “documentary” claims that it examines the link between diet and disease and all the money at stake for big pharma. Hrm. Okay. If you’re familiar with these pages, you’ve probably read Ivo Vegter’s takedown of it; if not, we’re not here for a hack job. Just to provide remedial analysis.

If you’re just looking for a bit of background noise, sprinkled with tidbits of info that might or might not be true, then feel free to crank this up while you do your chores. If you’re looking for evidence-based science, move along.

Among some of the claims, which Time Magazine debunked is that eggs are as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes (yes, really), the weirdness of downplaying sugar’s risk (despite there being evidence that it’s bad for you) and the (currently) weak link between milk and cancer.

This not to say don’t watch this. Please do. Just, as with everything, do so with awareness.

Available on Netflix


Strangers, psychic connections, dramatic chases and cutaways… well, that’s simplifying the show a bit. Let’s try and be better. Eight strangers who live in different parts of the world suddenly find themselves bound together. Better?

It’s much cooler than that, of course, they can sort of become each other and behave like each other. Look, we know this sounds complicated. And, in a way, Sense8 is. The attempt to create a new mythical world and all the complexities that go with it is brave and certainly not easy. So it’s no wonder the show feels somewhat hollow in this sense sometimes.

However, it’s good enough as a way to wind down, or procrastinate something else. The cinematography is pretty cool and the dialogue has its moments.

Available on Netflix


Like most books made into a movie, there is always a risk that it won’t be quite as you imagined. Anoeschka von Meck’s book became a bit of a cult classic in 2005 and the film, released last year, has had a warm reception.

If you’re not familiar with the plot, let’s fill you in. Helena Bosman, or Vaselinetjie, is a white girl, raised lovingly by a coloured family in the deep rural Northern Cape. Social workers intervene, and she is sent away to a children’s home in Johannesburg and so begins a search for identity and belonging, straddling two different worlds.

It’s almost a shame the film is so short because Marguerite van Eeden’s portrayal of Vaselinetjie is exceptional and you can never have enough of Shaleen Surtie-Richards (who plays ouma Kitta).

Forget whatever is being prescribed to you on Sunday night and put this on the box instead.

Available on Showmax

Video of the Week: These Competitive Kite Flyers Will Blow You Away

Every year serious kite-flyers descend upon Shandong province, China, for the International Kite Festival. Considering the amount of wind enjoyed in much of South Africa, that this isn’t a thing here is borderline criminal. DM


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