See what KZN is made of

2012-05-12 00:00

A NEW movie, Uhlanga — The Mark, that was produced in KwaZulu-Natal, will premier at CineCentre Cinema at Suncoast Casino in Durban on May 31.

This inspiring story follows three young rural teenagers through their daily struggles. They are faced with many challenges such as prejudice, abuse and poverty, but triumph despite their circumstances.

It took a year to produce the movie and it was mainly shot in different locations around KwaZulu-Natal, including KwaCele on the South Coast, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, with a few scenes also shot in Johannesburg.

Producer, director and writer of the movie, Ndaba ka Ngwane, who comes from a village called KwaCele on the South Coast, said his inspiration came from his village.

He believes that there are many untold stories in rural areas and made it his duty to depict life in the rural areas through this movie.

“I came up with the idea in 2007 but ended up doing a 15-minute short story instead. In 2010 I decided it was time to make this movie happen and held auditions,” he said.

Ngwane told Weekend Witness he wasn’t looking for big names when he was casting. He wanted to give ordinary people a chance to tell the story. “I was looking for people who had the talent but didn’t know the rules. I was looking for authenticity and I found that.”

He said he was blown away by what he found, and believes that his three lead actors, who made their acting debuts in the movie, will go very far in the industry.

“They have really grown as actors and I want to nurture them. I want to create more opportunities for them,” he said.

Popular KZN poet Sibonelo Mbutho “Sbo Da Poet” plays a character called Khaba Mkhize. The character goes through many family struggles at a young age. He has to look after his siblings, a huge responsibility for him, and therefore finds himself having to grow up quicker than other children.

Because this is Mbutho’s first acting role, he found it a bit challenging at first. “I was very shy when we started shooting. I had to learn how to be comfortable in front of the camera. It was very difficult but I was determined to get better. I practised my script everyday and improved a lot towards the final stages of shooting.”

Getting into character, however, wasn’t that much of a challenge for the poet because there are similarities between him and Khaba.

“Our lives are pretty much the same. He is a simple boy from the village like me. Neither of us have had it easy in life but managed to overcome the challenges we have came across,” Mbutho said.

Although his first love is poetry, he said he is very confident in his acting and would like to take on new acting roles. “This movie has shown me a different side of myself. I am now hungry for more roles so I can show that I am more than just a poet.” he said.

Like Mbutho, Nokuthula Khumalo, who plays the role of Thuli Mhlongo, said she’d also like to pursue acting as a career after making her debut in the movie. She plays a 17-year-old old girl who desperately wants to master the game of chess. She believes this is the only way to restore her dignity.

“This was quite an experience. I never thought I could act but am very thankful for the opportunity,” she said.

Khumalo said she had challenges at first but managed to deliver in the end. “I am very excited,” she added.

The third lead is played by Nomfundo Dubazana.

She plays Prudence Ngwenya, a naïve but determined young girl who knows there is more to life than the four walls of her mother’s mud house.

Ngwane said he would like people to go out and support local talent. “This is a beautiful movie and people need to go and see what KZN is made of.”

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