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photo Song of the Soul
Stories of Hospice in South Africa
By Janet S. Parrott

In the midst of a health tsunami and widespread poverty, “South African hospice professionals have found ways to respond effectively to the whole person with life-threatening illnesses,” says Catherine Chapin Kobacker, Executive Producer of Song of the Soul. With Kobacker and five other American women, filmmaker Janet S. Parrott had access to hospice facilities, day care programs, support groups, and a school as well as accompanying nurses on home visits with patients and family members. They visited urban and rural hospice activities in four South African cities and towns in order to share this model of community-based compassionate care.

Their stories are compelling and hopeful. In their own words, we hear the heartbreak of a grandmother whose children have died and left her to raise her grandchildren. We feel the pride of people now living active lives with HIV. We see promise in the faces of orphans and the words of a teacher who is passionately committed to their better futures. We share the frustration over the lack of good nutrition and the impact of prevalent poverty. We meet a young man whose food allotments intended only for him to support his medication are shared with eleven other people living in his household. In the face of all of this, we see the power of love in the gentle touch of a caregiver, in the encouraging words of a nursing sister. We see great joy in the faces of children. We see life in the end-of-life. We see hope.

40 minutes
© 2010
Purchase $248.00 DVD
Order No. QA-552

"Highly Recommended. It may sound like a cliché, but I am no longer the same person I was before my first viewing of Song of the Soul: Stories of Hospice in South Africa. highly recommended for all public, academic, and school audiences seeking to understand the power of a holistic movement in South Africa townships to change a culture of secrecy and death into a culture of hope and life. Other cultures have much to learn from this story of persistent embrace of adversity and death with dignity." Educational Media Reviews Online

"Captures the magnitude of complexities these hospices are faced with in caring for HIV patients and families. ...These stories only enhance the need for all of us involved in the care of the dying to know that we are caring for the living. This film deserves exposure to the general public and especially to all hospice and palliative care professionals." Warren L. Wheeler, MD, Senior Director of Medical Affairs, Nathan Adelson Hospice

Awards & Conference Screenings
Winner of a Viewer’s Choice Award,
WPA Film Festival 2011

Related Films
Pioneers of Hospice
The Bicycle: Fighting AIDS with community medicine in Malawi.

6000 A Day: The story of how the world's top decision makers knowingly failed to prevent the spread of the AIDS epidemic.

Montaña de Luz: Meet the children of the Montaña de Luz orphanage who are HIV positive and a living testament to the beauty and innocence of childhood in the face of adversity beyond their years. This documentary paints a stirring portrait of a loving community where nothing is truly certain but home, and where each birthday is a celebration of dreams fulfilled and dreams to come.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website