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by Loren Nel

“The seed for a great miracle lies not in difficulty, but impossibility.” This line from the film, Faith Like Potatoes, underpins the inspiring true story of Angus Buchan, a Zambian farmer of Scottish heritage who finds himself struggling to keep his head above water on a farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Concerned by the unrest in his native land of Zambia, Buchan makes the decision to move his wife and young family to a farm in Greytown, South Africa, only to find that things are as difficult for them in their new home as they were before.

The Buchans start afresh on a patch of land with an old caravan to live in, and are beset by the challenges of low finances, having to build a home, the responsibility of a new baby and three other children, not speaking the local language and the potential of violence from the locals. Buchan begins to buckle under the strain, and finds himself spending less time at home, and more time in the company of a whiskey bottle at the local pub.

Things begin to spin out of control when help comes in the unlikely form of Simeon Bhengu, a local Zulu, who despite Buchan’s anger, aggression and verbal abuse, begins to help him get his feet on the ground. The unlikely partnership develops into a friendship between the two men that spans the years and warms the heart. However, even this is not enough to pull Buchan out of his downward spiral.

Reluctantly, after yet another angry confrontation with his wife, Buchan agrees to accompany her to the local Methodist Missionary breakfast and instead of hating it as he expects, he finds instead a wise and caring minister, and faith in God that turns his life upside down.

From here the story follows the twists and turns of Buchan’s next few years. From the miraculous to the tragic, his experiences are incredible, unique, heartrending and inspiring, and guaranteed not to leave a dry eye.

This film, based on the autobiographical book by Angus Buchan, is a marvellous story that truly does challenge and inspire the viewer, leaving one with a residue of hope for a long time after the viewing.

The cinematography is beautiful, with large scenes of stunning Kwa-Zulu Natal complete with the inevitable call of doves. The visual splendour is accompanied by a haunting musical score, and as you watch the scenes unfold, you feel transported into the story, almost smelling the clean crisp air and acrid woodsmoke.

Adapted for the big screen by award winning actor and director, Reghardt van den Berg, the film has a strong cast including the talents of Frank Rautenbach as Buchan, Hamilton Dhlamini as Bhengu and Jeanne Wilhelm as Buchan’s wife, Jill, and boasts a number of awards including a Golden Horn and the Golden Ten Award for feature fiction. Dubbed as “the little film that can” Faith Like Potatoes has become an international success, gaining distribution rights globally, including in Australia, the UK and Italy.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing is that after the film is over, the work of Angus and Jill Buchan continues. They are still actively involved in the community, living on their farm “Shalom”, a working model for an African farm, running their Shalom Children’s Home for orphans, and overseeing a school for 200 local children. Their work has greatly benefited from the film, with part of the proceeds going towards the Children’s Home. In addition the local community has benefited from approximately two million Rand that was invested into getting the town ready for the filming.

This poignant story is a must see for the whole family. It weaves together tension, tragedy and triumph with moments of marvellous humour. Like his potatoes, Buchan’s faith grows unseen until the harvest; he truly lives out his message, “when nothing is left, believe.”
Posted in feature |
Posted by Loren Nel
15 Aug 2008

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I think that when we eventually get into OZ i will not bring anything else in my suitcase except lots of Faith like Potatoes DVD's and lots of Angus's books to give AWAY! we live in Greytown and know many of the people who were in the DVD. It changes lives !!
Rating: 5 / 5
by jackie duvel on 16 Nov 2009

I actually bought this movie at the Jhb airport on my way back to Australia. I did not read the cover but I liked the picture. I have since watched it a few times and whenever I need a bit of inspiration in my life. It was ironically filmed in Greytown and the outskirts where I lived. It is a beautiful movie and I recommend that you get a copy.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Karan Naidoo on 28 Aug 2009

if you have not seen this movie then you just dont know what you are missing . Faith moves mountains and by jove i have seen mountains crumble,our group at church had a movie night at my place and i saw men reduced to tears as we watched how god can do miracles nothing is impossible if you have faith and believe 5 is too low a rating try a 100
Rating: 5 / 5
by Kevin Steyn on 25 Jul 2009

To every one who has not seen the film, I have the following advice: If you do not believe that God sometimes allows you to be "with your face in the mud", in order to pick you up higher and make you a better and spiritual stronger person, then the film may not speak to you. I think all of us who are away from our "beloved countries", this film is a must to see even a few times.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Wessel Appel on 30 Jun 2009

Fundraiser Movie Night , For Greenpoint Christian School, Central Coast, NSW Where Avoca Picture Theater, Avoca Beach , Central Coast NSW. When 18 June 2009 Time 7pm Cost AUD20.00 includes light supper. For tickets Please contact Kate 0411274827
Rating: 5 / 5
by Lourenda.naude on 05 Jun 2009

I have been told about this film and have not seen it. You convinced me, after reading your article I think it will be good for my whole family to watch, Cecile, Chch, NZ.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Cecile Wetdewich on 03 Jan 2009

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