What it's about:
Siblings - Thulani and Zanele journey through life knowing that they have no one but each other to lean on. With Alexandra Township in South Africa serving as a vibrant backdrop, the siblings escape one tragedy and build a life together where big brother Thulas is over protective of his younger sister. As we witness Zanele's coming of age story in a neighbourhood where there seems to be no escape, she start making decisions that put her in harm's way. As a result, the two share a very strained relationship and Zanele is driven into the arms of an older man, as her way to rebel and escape what she thinks is a bleak future. Thulas, determined to put an end to this relationship is overcome by rage and this leads him to make a decision that ends in a tragedy.
What we thought:
Thina Sobabili is not for the fainthearted, from the opening scenes, the setting and the soul piercing accompanying soundtrack you instinctively know that this will not have a happy ending.
Set in the township of Alexandra it tells the story of siblings Thulas (Nkosinathi Gweva) and Zanele (Busisiwe Mtshali). Thulas is a tsotsi who raises his sister with a stern hand after their grandmother dies. Thulas is a troubled young man who is haunted by memories in dreams. We learn about their past through his dreams and flashbacks. And it is not pretty.
His sister Zanele is a bright, hardworking student. She has aspirations and dreams of becoming something and getting out of the township. She rebels against Thulas and through a friend she befriends an older man Skhalo (Richard Lukunku). He gives her the attention she craves and she starts a relationship with him.
Things spiral out of control and it ends in a deadly confrontation after a shocking plot twist is revealed.
The film takes a really hard look at life in the township as it explores themes of child headed households, physical and sexual abuse, and in the case of Thulas, a young man who has taken on the role of ‘man of the house’ who himself is still a child at heart. Thulas and Zanele are symbols of what youths are faced with in their daily lives.
There are some light moments in the film mostly brought on by Thulas’ partners in crime Sbu (Thato Dhladla), who has a crush on Zanele, and Mandla (Mpho Modikoane).
The main stars carry this film. Nkosinathi Gweva does an incredible job of playing the troubled Thulas. In her movie debut Busisiwe Mtshali created a character that everyone can relate to even though we might not all face the same circumstances.
The setting and the filming all adds to the storytelling and the grittiness of the production gives a very real life feel to the movie.
What makes this movie so powerful to watch is that the story simply just unfolds: there is no moral judgement, no preaching, their lives just unfold right before your eyes.
It will leave you with the hard question; with the cards that they have been dealt with did the siblings ever really stand a chance at a good life?
It’s not an easy film to watch but it will give you a glimpse into the lives and circumstances that many people face on a daily basis.
Go and spend your money on this local production. It is worth it!