Young Mooi River pupil turns movie star

2007-11-23 00:00

Amber-Jay was only 11 years old when she wrote the story called Learn to be Yourself. It was to be turned into a book for her grade six writing assignment last year.

The story tells of her move from the fast-paced city of Johannesburg to the farmlands of Mooi River and illustrates the hardships of moving and leaving family and friends behind, and the challenges of adapting in to a new world, as seen from the girl’s point of view.

In the book, the girl befriends and learns life lessons from a sangoma, whose role has been adapted to that of a Zulu warrior, played by Dandala in the film.

Amber-Jay soon becomes a hero by applying the coping skills and wisdom instilled in her by the sangoma.

“Every fourth term, our grade sixes have to do a Proudly South African-themed writing project, which we turn into a book. It’s basically a culmination of the writing skills learnt in that year,” said Hazel Stanley who teaches English and Drama in the prep school.

Stanley said she encouraged Amber-Jay to enter the national writing competition because of her unbelievable talent, which she said has matured far beyond her years.

“She really has an unbelievable gift and I was not amazed at all by her win. I nagged her to enter and Mom nagged from her side, and what you see here today is basically a product of work done in eight weeks,” said Stanley.

Dandala said his involvement was tied firstly to the fact that it was a sweet story and because he was a big fan of film making.

“She [Amber-Jay] is a gem. She’s very smart and I’m looking forward to great things from her.”

“It has been loads of fun and Hlomla makes me laugh,” giggled Amber-Jay.

“I can hardly keep a straight face on set.

“My advice to people in the same situation I was in is don’t worry too much about other people. Go with the flow and people will love you for who you are. Don’t change yourself,” were the wise words from Mooi River’s newest celebrity.

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