Henry Singer’s gripping film tells the story of the extraordinary life and brutal death of filmmaker-turned-conservationist Joan Root, and of her campaign to save her beloved Lake Naivasha in Kenya.
Who killed Joan Root? Was it the fish poachers, whom Root stopped from plying their illegal trade in a bid to save the lake? Was it her once-loyal staff member Chege, whom Root ultimately cut off from her payroll? Or was it someone closer to home? Through telling the story, Singer opens a window onto the simmering tensions in an Africa still emerging from colonialism and anxious to take its place in the global economy. For it is the Kenyan rose, which is exported by the millions from Naivasha to the rest of the world, that has brought – not just jobs and foreign exchange earnings – but the environmental destruction that Root worked so hard to stop and which may have ultimately cost her her life. A beautifully crafted and heartfelt homage to a fearless campaigner which also provokes some unsettling questions about trying to stop ‘progress’ in the developing world.