Born in 1960, he grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where he studied fine arts. Along with friends, he founded the Scratch nightclub, a meeting place for a whole generation of creative and militant opponents to the Apartheid regime. He made his directing debut in 1987 with the feature Mapantsula. Other features, which have screened at international festivals, include Life Above All which he coproduced and which was selected as South Africa’s Foreign Language Oscar entry in 2010. He has also directed TV series including Türkisch für Anfänger (Turkisch for Beginners) and Doctor's Diary.