A Lion’s Trail


by François Verster


South Africa / 2002 / 52mins / Documentary / Afrikaans, English and Zulu

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is one of the most recognizable pop songs in the world. But how many people realize that this American hit tune was actually written by Solomon Linda, a Zulu musician who never earned a cent in royalties and died in poverty? Directed by award-winning filmmaker François Verster, A Lion's Trail traces the music back to its original source, telling the story of how the Zulu song "Mbube" was transcribed by American folk singer Pete Seeger into "Wimoweh," finally gaining international recognition as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."


About the Director

François Verster

François Verster is an Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker based in Cape Town, South Africa. After studying in Cape Town he worked with Barenholtz Productions in New York and on the crew of various independent features. In 1998 Verster formed Undercurrent Film and Television, a Cape Town-based company that aims to produce quality documentary programs for local as well as international markets. Verster’s films generally follow creative and observational approaches to social issues and have all won local and international awards. Verster has taught documentary filmmaking and held fellowships at Columbia University, NYU, and University of Cape Town. He currently teaches a postgraduate course in creative documentary at the University of the Western Cape. Learn More