In 1989, after twelve decades of colonial rule, South West Africa is about to become the independent nation of Namibia. Twenty-eight Ju/'hoan farming communities have been established, but the people's legal claim to their traditional lands in Nyae Nyae remains in question. STANDING TALL documents the efforts of members of the Nyae Nyae Farmers Cooperative (NNFC) to find their relatives in the white ranching districts and black ethnic homelands and help them return to Nyae Nyae and farm. The film depicts the desperate lives of the dispossessed Bushman – poor, hungry, and exploited-among whom the NNFC members meet /Ui Chapman. /Ui, a highly skilled Ju/'hoan farmer, works for a white rancher and earns 120 Rand ($80 US) a month. Forced to buy all his family's needs from the rancher's store, essentially /Ui works for corn meal.
Political activity heats up as independence approaches. The Ju/'hoansi celebrate the victory of the South West African Peoples Organization, or SWAPO in the 1989 UN-sponsored, national election – believing that SWAPO will support Ju/'hoan farming efforts.
Meanwhile UN troops help relocate /Ui's family to a borehole in Nyae Nyae. With little more than a pump and a few tools /Ui dances for joy as his family looks forward to finally farming their own land.