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The Story of an African Farm
Directed by David Lister
Produced by Ross Garland
Bonnie Rodini
Cindy Rodkin
Written by Thandi Brewer
Bonnie Rodini
Olive Schreiner (novel)
Starring Richard E. Grant
Armin Mueller-Stahl
Music by J.B. Arthur
Cinematography Peter Tischhauser
Editing by Josh Galvin
Distributed by Freestyle Releasing (US)
Release date(s) 8 October 2004 (2004-10-08)
Running time 97 minutes
Country United States / South Africa
Language English

The Story of an African Farm, released in the United States as Bustin' Bonaparte: The Story of an African Farm, is a 2004 South African film directed by David Lister and based on the 1883 novel of the same name by South African author Olive Schreiner.


The setting is a farm on the slopes of a Karoo Kopje, South Africa, during the 1870s. Fat Tant Sannie (Karin van der Laag) looks after her charges, the sweet Em (Anneke Weidemann) and the independent Lyndall (Kasha Kropinski), with a strict Biblical hand - it was Em's father's dying wish. Gentle Otto (Armin Mueller-Stahl), the farm manager, runs the farm and cares for Waldo, his son. Waldo (Luke Gallant) is bright, and busy building a model of a sheep-shearing machine that he hopes will make them all rich. Things change when the sinister, eccentric Bonaparte Blenkins (Richard E. Grant) with bulbous nose and chimney pot hat arrives. Their childhood is disrupted by the bombastic Irishman who claims blood ties with Wellington and Queen Victoria and so gains uncanny influence over the girls' gross stupid stepmother, Tant Sannie.

As the story of Lyndall, Em and Waldo unfolds to its touching end, we learn not merely of a backwater in colonial history, but of the whole human condition.

Olive Schreiner's intense story of three children living in the African veldt has often been compared to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Wildly controversial at publication (1883) because of its feminist sentiments, the story has remained a touching and often wickedly funny portrayal of life on a late Victorian farm in South Africa.


  • Armin Mueller-Stahl as Otto
  • Richard E. Grant as Bonaparte Blenkins
  • Karin van der Laag as Tant Sannie
  • Kasha Kropinski as Lyndall
  • Luke Gallant .as Waldo
  • Anneke Weidemann as Em
  • Elriza Swanepoel as Trana
  • Nichol Petersen as Tant Sannie's Maid
  • Chris-Jan Steenkamp as Sheep Shearer
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