What it's about:
In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting; everything except the one thing that really does need to change. She is a twenty-one-year-old Afro hipster who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, trying to keep the memory of her father alive, when she's thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman's re inventive touch. Will she reclaim what could have been?
What we thought:
Since its debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Ayanda has gone on to gather rave reviews.
The momentum didn’t stop there though, Selma director, Ava DuVernay has secured distribution of the film in the US. And just recently it was announced that the film will screen at two more international film festivals.
With all of that hype the film sure does have a lot to live up, and believe me it does.
Set in Yeoville the film tells the story of a young Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovahni). She’s an eccentric artist who makes furniture, she dresses up in quirky outfits and gets panic attacks and even changes her mind whenever she needs to sell her “creations” as she refers to them.
Her workshop is her dad’s old garage where she employs mechanics, David (O.C. Ukeje) and Zoum (Thomas Gumede).
Ayanda’s world is rocked when her mother Dorothy (Nthati Moshesh) and family friend Zama (Kenneth Nkosi) reveal that they have to sell the garage: for her mother the garage is the source of painful memories while Zama wants to sell it to avoid jail time.
Together with her mechanics she hatches a plan to restore and refurbish classic cars. She soon reaches success but things beyond her control throw a spanner in the works: a robbery, stolen cars, a dirty policeman and a secret real estate deal.
There’s a lot happening in this film, Ayanda’s story gets told through a documentary maker who is doing a piece on the ‘new African’. The story is interspersed with tales of other immigrants and locals. The editing is quick and sometimes you lose track of the central plot.
I was totally drawn in by the Yeoville setting - which is this hub that draws on new and old culture. It is just so cool to watch this buzzing subculture on the big screen.
As lead character Fulu Mugovahni keeps you engaged. Her character I think is a reflection of what so many young people struggle with right now as much as she is a strong, independent young women they are also sides of her that are immature. That comes across strongly when she lashes out at her mother and in her treatment of David.
Another standout performance is O.C. Ukeje he plays the lovesick David so well that he even sacrifices a life changing opportunity. He is the calm and collected perfect balance to Fulu’s energetic and even overwrought, Ayanda.
This a fresh local film that is a must-see and hands down one of the best local films I have seen this year. Go spend your money on this one, it’s definitely worth it!