'Avatar was amazing' - corneal transplant patient takes first trip to the movies

2016-05-28 07:26
Corneal transplant patient Philani Twala watching his first ever movie in cinema at Eastgate Shopping Centre. (Supplied, Ster-Kinekor)

Corneal transplant patient Philani Twala watching his first ever movie in cinema at Eastgate Shopping Centre. (Supplied, Ster-Kinekor)

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Johannesburg – Corneal transplant patient Philani Twala had his first ever cinema experience with his new eyes on Thursday.

The 20-year-old from Katlehong, on the East Rand, saw James Cameron's $2.7bn-grossing blockbuster epic Avatar at Ster-Kinekor in Eastgate with his family and friends.

The film is known for its visuals and spectacular special effects that burst with colour. During its initial release in 2009, the film broke numerous box office records, and is currently still the most successful film of all time.

"Avatar was amazing," Twala said in a statement. "I felt like I was inside the movie, acting in the movie too."

Ster-Kinekor and its flagship CSI programme, Vision Mission, launched a campaign called #OpenEyes where South Africans could use Twitter and Facebook to recommend the first film Twala should see following his transplant.

The campaign facilitated Twala's life-changing operation that restored his sight after he was diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye that causes distortion of vision, sensitivity to light and eventual loss of sight.

Amazing response

Ster-Kinekor's General Manager of Marketing, Bradley Knowles, said that he was in awe of the public's participation.

"The response from the public was simply amazing," Knowles said.

Avatar had to compete with other popular films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fast & Furious 7, but in the end was the clear winner.

The transplant was done by Dr Akiel Asvat, a Johannesburg-based ophthalmologist who agreed to perform the operation on a pro bono basis.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news

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