Vusi Kunene, Florence Masebe in SA’s first Venda film

By Drum Digital
23 January 2014

Elelwani, starring Vusi Kunene, Florence Masebe will be released in Cinemas later this month.

The film is South Africa’s first Venda-language feature.

Directed by Ntshaveni Wa Luruli, and based on the novel by Titus Ntsiene Maumela, the film tells the story of Elelwani (Florence Masebe), a young woman who leaves her rural village for the big city, where she completes her studies.

Elelwani has been offered a dream job in Chicago and is engaged to Vele, the love of her life. The two set out on a drive to her village, intending to tell her parents of their plans to marry.

However, on their arrival, Elelwani is shocked when her parents reveal that she is to marry the tribal king. She initially rebels, but torn between a glowing future and familial duty, she finally consents to the marriage.

Elelwani’ is an ethnographic thriller infused with the Venda culture’s oral storytelling tradition. Shot against the glorious green backdrop of the Thohoyandou area of Limpopo, incredibly beautiful images and a disturbing plot combine to create a film inflected with magical realism.

With this film, Ntshavheni, himself a Venda, offers insights into an exotic culture without exoticizing it, all a result of his consistent refusal to explain its secrets. He deals maturely with conceptions of gender applying sensitivity and balance, and the tale comes to a complex and grounded resolution.

-Source: Sterkinekor

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