Bernard van Leer Foundation Films

These films were discovered by Dr. Kevin Shillington.  We have not been able to find out a lot about them but we have contacted the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) to get more information and to obtain their permission to use these films, which they have granted.  The two clips are actually two parts of the same film.  You can tell this because of the numbering and also because the start of the second is obviously a continuation of the end of the first.

Follow this link to the Bernard Leer Foundation home page,

and follow this link to the Bernard Leer Foundation Wikipedia page.

PvR speaks 3 times in this clip.  PvR’s sections start and stop times are as follows:-
1. 00.04.04 to 00.04.57
2. 00.07.29 to 00.08.28
3. 00.12.33 to 00.13.30


This is a continuation of ‘BvL Foundation Film 1’. PvR speaks once in this clip starting at 00.35:38 and ending at 00.37.17.

Here are Andrew Gunn’s observations and recollections about the BvLF:-

… I was at a lost, initially, to remember any significant interaction with the Bernard van Leer Foundation during my time as SBDT Trust Accountant. The major overseas donors then were Stichting Hivos, represented by Willem Scholten with whom I discussed grant applications, and who visited Serowe on a number of occasions during this period, and NOVIB/INDEC, represented by Bob Waisfisz. For the period 1980 to 1982 inclusive, Stichting Hivos had committed grants equivalent to P735,750 and NOVIB/INDEChad committed grants equivalent to P363,880.

From the poor quality of the two films, I guessed that they were shot before my arrival in 1977, since I was unable to recognise anyone on the films, apart from PvR, or the locations of the filming.   So I was surprised to hear PvR say, towards at the end of the second film (36:21), ‘At the end of 1979, I helped to found a trust, which we know as the Foundation for Education and Production’   Accordingly, I when (sic) back to my ‘End of Term Report’ to find on page 19, for the August 1978 entry of matters considered by the Secretariat, reference to ‘Grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation.’   This led me to check the SBDT Accounts for the six months to 30 June 1979 from which I see that the Bernard van Leer Foundation made grants to SBDT of P15,200 in 1978 and a further grant of P5,200 in the first half of 1979.   Coincidentally, Brot fur die Welt made a similar grant of P15,200 to SBDT in 1978.   I have no information (40 years later) on the purposes for which these grants were made.

… I do remember PvR making references to the Bernard van Leer Foundation, particularly in relation to Boiteko. The main focus to BvLF grant-making, during the last 50+ years, has been ‘early childhood development’, and that seems to me why their grants to the SBDT were related to Boiteko.

And here are Andrew’s comments about these films:-

I loved the sound of women singing in the second film and the sounds of their conversation. I’m sure that I would have known some of the men talking to camera in both films, but it so difficult to connect the faces and speech of people I knew with my recollection of them. I guess that one of them would have been Kopano Lekoma, and agree that another would have been Mareledi Giddie. Both were then prominent members of the SBDT Secretariat (and had arranged a small party to wish me farewell at the end of my contract!).

We have made every effort to make this website accurate but a document of this type is prone to mistakes and omissions, for which we apologise.  If you spot any errors let us know about them by contacting us here :-Contact



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