“First Feature Film In Soweto’


“We have made what I would like to call the first feature film in Soweto,’ says Vusi Twala about the movie that he directed and wrote called “uMamazala’. The film, by Seleke Cinema, showcases the struggle of a young bride (Khosi Zwane) against her tyrannical mother-in-law (Mrs Selebi) and her carefree husband (Solly Selebi) who is sinking slowly into drink and loose living,’.

Conflict arises as the bride is requested to perform her bridal duties at her husband’s home (known as ukukotiza in the Zulu language) such as doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking and taking care of one of the daughter’s little baby. The couple also face issues of job loss, which impedes on their quality of life, seeing them return back to the township. This is a sharp contrast to the comfortable life they are accustomed to.

“It is true that in the old days, brides stayed with the husband’s family as he was the one who paid dowry (known as lobola in the Zulu language) and brought the bride home,’ says Twala. The requirements and execution of the tradition of bridal duties differs in many cultures from family to family. The system is sometimes open to abuse as the bride is looked upon as the “outsider’ (an intruder) who has to be taught the ways of the family she is marrying into.

According to the director the movie premiered on Soweto TV, through DStv, and received rave reviews from people in Lesotho, Newcastle, Durban and Botswana. The limited budget used a “skeleton crew (more of a learning crew), new and seasoned actors and basic equipment such as a SONY HDV camera and Apple’s Final Cut Studio.

Vusi Twala has worked on several television productions such as the 1979 television series “Incushe’, “Dick Sithole’, “Tender Hearts’, “Boomspruit’ and “The Adventures of Mamu and Ngema’.

CEO of Seleke Cinema and executive producer of “uMamazala’, Nom Twala, says that one of their goals is to make about three movies a year, enabling the company to train new crew members and unearth new acting talent in the townships. “We want to make filmmaking an accessible possibility for the South African film industry, telling our own stories,’ she concludes.

Seleke Cinema, a division of Seleke Communications, is currently looking for means to distribute the film and hoping to start production on their second feature film in January.


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