It all went down in 2008 and today the story of Ellen Pakkies is still hitting headlines around the world. So, what made Ellen the subject of attention? What pushes a loving mother so far that she takes the life of her own child?
Ellen, a local from Lavender Hill in Cape Town, murdered her beloved son. She didn’t do it because she wanedt to, but because she had no other choice. She was desperate and went through an unbearable trauma to save her son. Adam, or Abie as Ellen called him, who was a crystal methamphetamine addict.
* Crystal methamphetamine: known as ‘tik’ which is readily available and quite cheap too.
It’s known that Ellen couldn’t take it anymore and end up murdering her son. During the court case, an extraordinary series of events took place. Every day of the trial, a crowd gathered outside the court. Mothers, fathers, friends and family members of other tik addicts from all across the Cape demonstrated to have Ellen freed. They were all behind her. Court officials, including the prosecution and the magistrate, admitted to crying during the trial. Many could see the pain she went through.
Life had its ups and downs, but it all came down to when her son, Abie, became addicted to tik at the age of 14. For years, Ellen tried everything to help and save him, but didn’t succeed. Abie attacked her, stole and sold their belongings and basically destroyed everything in his wake. Ellen lived in fear for her own son. It’s clear that Pakkies was helpless.
This moving story about addiction, abuse, desperation, survival, forgiveness and hope is now put together in a movie – Ellen, Die Storie van Ellen Pakkies. The film was recently screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in January 2018 and will be released in South Africa in September this year. An intriguing film about the harrowing account of a woman put through the penal system, tried for murder and driven by an unflinching love for her son. One of the most controversial South African murder cases is heading for the big screen.
All we can say is that this is a must-see movie. Many families around South Africa are facing similar obstacles and challenges on a daily basis. We believe there are a lot of things we can learn from this story. So, make it your job to see this movie!
Release Date: 7 September 2018
Words by: Keaton Wenn