Our dear friend and partner Paul van Schalkwyk (1955-2014) died March 8th in a flight accident in his homeland Namibia. It is a sad day och a great loss for Namibia, and our film and photography community. Our thoughts go out to his family; wife Rieth and their children Henri and Nina.
Paul was used to adversity. He successfully battled cancer, and he survived a car accident returning from a film shoot. With a broken back an unable to walk, he fought his way back. Scandinature’s CEO Bo Landin recall the work they have done together, like the National Geographic film Mane Event, which also became a story about the frightening car accident where Paul got trapped underneath his own car which flipped over while towed. Paul was a person that would not give up. As soon as he could after the accident, he was back in Etosha following a pride of lions for the NatGeo film. In a report back to Bo Landin at Scandinature in 1999 he wrote:
“Regarding our filming all I can say is that never in my life have I worked so hard, so single minded, dedicated and focussed and achieved so little! But don’t despair it is getting there with agonizing little steps. I think I can safely say that I have eighty percent of the material in the can. But, as I suspected these lions must be illiterate because the treatment is still being ignored flatly.”
At the end of the day Paul got what he wanted and the film about his work aired successfully around the world. Paul and Scandinature went on to produce Bushmen – Hunting for their Future which is still running on TV stations around the world.
A dedicated conservationist and artist, Paul’s achievements are also in the world of business. A visionary entrepreneur he also founded Namibia’s first independent TV station, One Africa Television (presented in this clip, produced by former Scandinature producer Dag Jonzon who also worked with Paul on a natural history series for Swedish TV).
In recent years Paul had a focus on still photography, and very successfully so. His marvelous images of all things Namibia, and a lot more, will live on as a tribute to his artistry. This image is one of many where he managed to capture the almost surreal nature of the Namibian desert.