Katinka Heyns interview

Katinka Heyns has spent over fifty-four years in the television and film industry.

Katinka Heyns (born 20 September 1947) is a South African filmmaker, director, and actress. Her inclusion of a feminist perspective in her movies has gained her prominence.

The filmmaker is also known for her comments on the politics and cultures of South Africa. Some of her known works include the film Paljas. It made it as the South African entry but wasn’t a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 70th Academy Awards.

Katinka Heyns
 Katinka Heyns biography
Katinka Heyns includes feminist perspectives in her films and comments on SA politics and culture.
Short Profile
Full name:Katinka Heyns
Born:20 September 1947 (age 75 years old)
Nationality:South African
Alma mater:University of Pretoria
Occupation:Filmmaker, director, actress
Years active:1969-date
Spouse:Koos Roets
Chris Barnard
Notable work:Paljas
Known for:Feminist perspectives in her films

Early Life

Katinka Heyns was born on 20 September 1947. She grew up and schooled in South Africa.


Heyns studied at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in drama.


Heyns started acting in 1969. She played a role in Jans Rautenbach’s Katrina (1969). She has appeared in many of Rautenbach’s films, including Janie Totsiens in 1970, Pappa Lap in 1971, and Eendag op ‘n Reendag in 1975.

The actress received much attention for appearing in Manie van Rensburg’s TV comedy series Willem. The apartheid policy at that time led to many censorship laws. Yet, Heyns still did documentaries about various literary individuals.

The filmmaker founded a production company called Sonneblom Films in 1974. Through the company, she created her unique style of feature films.

Her husband, Chris Barnard, wrote her scripts for her feature films. Her featured films include Fiela se Kind in 1987, Die Storie van Klara Viljee in 1991, Paljas in 1997, and Die Wonderworker in 2012. 

In 2007, Heyns directed the stage play Die Twaalfuurwals. Eventually, she landed a lead role in the television series Willem. She appeared in the radio play Pendoring & Seun (1994).

Film style

The filmmaker Jans Rautenbach influenced her and gave her a start to her career in film. Though men dominate the filmmaking business, Heyns remains consistent in making films. Her works revolve around female empowerment and female experiences.

Through her films, she attempts to exhibit political and cultural experiences in South Africa, while other directors focus on reproducing American-style movies.

All her piece evoke themes of relationships, love, and struggle and questions gender representations in the country’s culture. 

Person Life

Katinka Heyns has a son, Simon Barnard, with her husband, Chris Barnard, who passed away in December 2015. 

Before marrying the playwriter Chris, she was the wife of a fellow filmmaker, Koos Roets. They had a son Reghard Roets, who presented the TV program Adrenalien on kykNet.


Katinka Heyns won the Rapport Oscar for Best Actress for the film Eendag op ‘n Reendag (1975). She received a Medal of Honor from the South African Academy of Arts and Science. She received the Afrikaans Onbeperk Prize in 1999.

The filmmaker received the Legendary Award for Women in Film and Television at the International Crystal Awards. She holds an Honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria (UP) for her contributions to dramatic arts.

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