‘Izulu Lami’ stuns Durban audiences

2009-07-25 00:00

IT’S being dubbed the African Slumdog Millionaire, but producer Jeremy Nathan believes Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) is a better and more honest film than the UK/India co-production that scooped eight Oscars earlier this year.

The feature film, which has been entered in the competition section of the 30th Durban International Film Festival (Diff), has already won the Dikalo Best Feature Film Prize at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, and the Audience Award and Best Actress Award for Sobahle Mkhabase (11) at the Tarifa International Pan African Film Festival in Spain.

Shot in Durban and Inanda, Izulu Lami tells the story of two orphan children, Thembi and Khwezi, who travel to Durban to find a priest who admired their mother’s handwoven mats and encouraged her to enter them in a craft competition. When they arrive in the city, however, they encounter a group of tough street children led by Chilli-Boy (Tshepang Mohlomi), and learn the hard way that the city is a dangerous place.

Speaking at the opening of the festival at Suncoast on Thursday, Nathan, whose company, DV8 Films, co-produced the movie with Vuleka Productions, said they did not glamourise poverty in South Africa and in the process created a “more gritty and better film” than Slumdog.

While the film doesn’t shy away from showing the hardship of life on the streets, it’s also uplifting.

For director and co-writer Madoda Ncayiyana, having his film open at Diff is a dream come true. “This has been such a journey, especially for the actors, who had never been to a cinema or acted before,” he said.

All seven child stars from Izulu Lami — Sobahle, Sibonelo Malinga, Tshepang Mohlomi, Andiswe Mkhize, Sizwe Xaba, Sanele Ndawo and Siboniso Nkosi — were at the opening to enjoy the standing ovations from the hundreds of guests.

Izulu Lami can be seen at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre today at 6 pm, Ekaya KwaMashu on July 29 at 6 pm and at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on July 31 at 11 am, ahead of its release on August 21.

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