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Exclusive: ‘Girl Taken’, the Morne and Celeste film hits the big screens today

Morne and Celeste Nurse on their wedding day. SUPPLIED

Morne and Celeste Nurse on their wedding day. SUPPLIED

Published Jun 25, 2022


Cape Town - “We will show our true emotions to the world for the first time.”

This is what Morne Nurse said about the documentary, “Girl Taken”, which premiers today at the Labia Theatre in Orange Street in Cape Town at 5.30pm.

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For the first time, the Nurse family, including the kidnapper’s family will watch their six-year filming journey in its complete form.

Kidnapper Lavona Solomon and her husband, Michael Solomon, during the court case. SUPPLIED

In an exclusive interview with the Weekend Argus, Nurse and his daughter Miche Solomon, better known as Zephany Nurse, shared his emotions on the eve of the release of the 92-minute film which took six years to complete.

The film follows the journey of Morne and Celeste, their heartache, joy and pain from the day their three-day old baby, Zephany was snatched by Lavona Solomon, a seamstress from Seawinds in Lavender Hill at Groote Schuur Hospital in April 1997 to 17 years later when they found their daughter.

Their youngest daughter, Cassidy, attended the same school as Miche and the two girls resembled one another.

DNA tests later revealed Miche was in fact the Nurse’s long lost daughter.

After the kidnapping, the couple went on to have three more children.

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The movie, according to Nurse, is the behind-the-scenes and camera lens after being in the media spotlight since February 2015.

It is the raw emotions shared by the couple, their marriage shattered by the huge loss and the reconciliation and new marriage – and dealing with secondary loss after meeting their daughter who was a total stranger and learning to gain her love and trust.

Cassidy and Miche Solomon. SUPPLIED

The movie was produced by Soilsiú Films, Undercurrent Film & Television, Saltpeter Production and the directors are Francois Verster and Simon Wood.

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Verster, Wood and David Rane also produced the film.

It also includes the voices of their daughter Cassidy, Michael Solomon, the husband of the kidnapper and others.

Publicist Joy Sapieka & Associates said they were proud to announce the premier: “’Girl Taken’ is screening at the Labia Theatre in Orange Street at 5.30pm on Saturday, June 25.”

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Morne and Celeste with their empty pram and toys in 1997. FILE

Nurse said the film echoed the raw roller-coaster ride they have been on.

“The film tells the true emotions of a couple that is fighting this fairy-tale ending, we thought there was going to be a fairy-tale ending, there never was a fairy-tale ending.

“When she was found, the film tells the raw emotions.

“We never could have dreamt that something like this would have happened to us.

“When you find your child, you are happy and you know you have your daughter back but it is more than that.

“It is something that we never realised, what lay ahead of us.

“The film tells of the desire to heal, how things became broken and how this family became one again.

“There is no fixing anyone in this case, mentally we are broken, I think that is something we will take to our graves one day.

“There is no healing.

“The movie is based mainly on me and Celeste, a couple that was looking for their daughter and Zephany, on her path, accepting and falling in love with her mother, she realised who her mother is.

“It is the true hurt and emotions we are showing to the world, there are a lot of tears.

“I have not watched the film as yet so I will see it for the first time.”

Morne and Celeste Nurse, parents of Zephany Nurse who was abducted. FILE

Miche, who is a mother of two, told Weekend Argus she was anxious and happy to see the movie as she had only seen extracts of the edited version.

“I feel overwhelmed and excited,” she said.

“This is a huge achievement as a family and although we are still not where we would like to be, we are working on it.

“I have not seen the completed version of the movie but during the editing points.”

Co-director, Verster, said the film was the perfect synopsis of what happened when the media hype died down and what the family had encountered.

“This film offers a subtle insight, what happened after the media hype died down.

“It tells different sides, from the kidnapper’s husband’s side to Cassidy, the sister.

“It is also showing how people have been dealt a terrible card in life.

“The film will show you the longest version of the story, that goes beyond the book that was written.”

Zephany became a household name in Cape Town in 2015 and the woman who had snatched her, Solomon was found guilty of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act and in 2016 she was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

During the trial, it was revealed that Solomon had miscarriages and was desperate to have a child of her own so that her partner, Michael would marry her.

She denied stealing the infant and claimed a woman named, Sylvia had handed her the baby at Wynberg Train Station but this was dismissed as a fairy tale by the court.

But Solomon kicked back on the claims, that it was not true while Michael said he never knew that Miche was not his biological daughter.

Miche, at 22 came out with her true identity after it was sealed to protect her.

She published a book titled, “Zephany: Two mothers, one daughter”.