Thordis Elva & Thomas Stranger

Thordis Elva is a writer, journalist, public speaker and known as Woman of the Year 2015 in Iceland. Her book about gender-based violence, Á mannamáli (The Plain Truth) was one of the most awarded Icelandic books of 2009, earning her a nomination to the Icelandic Literature Prize. In 2011 she founded an equality campaign that sparked a national debate, earning her a nomination to the Society Awards. In 2012, she was commissioned to reinvent the approach to violence prevention and sex education in Icelandic schools. The resulting short films Get Consent! (Fáðu já!) and Stand Up For Yourself (Stattu með þér!), have won local and international awards. Thordis Elva was elected Chairman of the Board of the Icelandic Women’s Shelter 2012–2014 and has served on government committees working with the issue of violence.

Thomas Stranger is based in Sydney, Australia. He has worked in both the Youth and Outdoor Recreation Sector since completing his Bachelor of Social Science in 2002. He also holds Certificate III and IV in Youth Work and is cur- rently in the latter stages of a Masters of Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Tom will donate a portion of any proceeds from South of Forgiveness to charity.

Watch their TED Talk: Our Story of Rape and Reconiliation


South of Forgiveness

One ordinary spring morning in Reykjavik, Iceland, Thordis Elva kisses her son and partner goodbye before boarding a plane to do a remarkable thing: fly seven thousand miles to South Africa to confront the man who raped her when she was just sixteen. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, Tom Stranger nervously embarks on an equally life-changing journey to meet Thordis, wondering whether he is worthy of this milestone.

After exchanging hundreds of searingly honest emails over eight years, Thordis and Tom decided it was time to speak face to face. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, they meet in the middle, in Cape Town, South Africa, a country that is no stranger to violence and the healing power of forgiveness.

SOUTH OF FORGIVENESS is an unprecedented collaboration between a survivor and a perpetrator, each equally committed to exploring the darkest moment of their lives. It is a true story about being bent but not broken, facing fear with courage, and finding hope even in the most wounded of places. Personable, accessible, and compelling, South of Forgiveness is an intense and refreshing look at a gendered violence, rape culture, personal responsibility, and the effect that patriarchal cultures have on both men and women.