Tsotsi crew arrives in SA

2006-03-12 11:03

Johannesburg - Tsotsi director Gavin Hood and lead actor Presley Chweneyagae arrived to screams of applause in the international arrivals hall of the Johannesburg International Airport on Sunday morning.

As they stood on a balcony overlooking the arrivals hall, they took turns holding up the Oscar statuette the film won for best foreign film.

Earlier, the sounds of vuvuzelas and toyi-toying echoed through the entrance area of the Johannesburg International Airport as a busload of well-wishers arrived to greet the Oscar-winning Tsotsi crew.

The movie crew were expected on a flight from Amsterdam returning from the Oscar awards in Los Angeles.

The film changed veteran actor Ian Roberts' perception of the movies in South Africa, he said at the airport, also awaiting the arrival of the crew.

Roberts said that for years he had a perception of movies he had been involved in "going nowhere".

"Tsotsi has changed that. They have great potential," said Roberts, who played the part of a policeman in the film.

"Although it is the smallest role I played, it's the biggest in the sense of what it has done," he said.

The crowd had arrived on buses at the airport, which was abuzz with travellers.

Standing outside the international arrivals hall as the first bus arrived with passengers singing and blowing vuvuzelas, US visitor Connie Kubicek said she had heard of the movie overseas.

After being informed of its success and what the singing was all about, she said: "That is excellent."

Amid the singing, Roberts said: "I just love it. I wandered outside to see what the singing was about and I just loved it."

David Mokoena from Tembisa said the Gauteng provincial arts department and municipal councillors have organised residents to join the welcome home.

He said he had not seen the movie but had enjoyed watching the highlights on television.

Mokoena and fellow Tembisa residents, dressed in uniform T-shirts and peaked caps to mark the occasion, were singing in Zulu: "Tsotsi, we are very happy with what you have done in America, you have made us proud in South Africa."