She Is King

A scene in She is King. (Facebook)
A scene in She is King. (Facebook)


2/5 Stars


Khanyisile is a talented singer/dancer/actor who wants to be a star. She travels from her home in Nongoma to audition for a new musical to be staged at the Joburg Theatre, based on the life of Zulu Queen Mkabayi ka Jama. After a couple of detours, Khanyi lands a role in the chorus and catches the eye of the best-looking dancer in the show, charming soap star Luyanda. Will she be able to keep up with her more seasoned fellow performers, avoid the jealous machinations of the ageing leading lady and survive the punishing rehearsal schedule to make it to opening night?


Taking her love for acting to the big screen, Idols SA contestant Gugu Zulu takes on the lead role of Khanyisile Khumalo in the local flick She Is King

The musical drama follows Gugu’s character – an ambitions actress/singer with dreams of making it in the “big city”, A.K.A Johannesburg. Khanyisile leaves her home in the rural town of Nongoma (Kwa Zulu-Natal) to audition for a stage production based on the life of Zulu queen Mkabayi.

But, the road to the top is not an easy one as Khanyisile soon comes to find out. The young actress’s life is riddled with obstacles including a romantic relationship that quickly turns sour, trouble with her estranged mother, and her journey of self-discovery. 

Although the movie boasts an all-star cast like Khanyi Mbau, Khabonina Qubeka, Sophie Ndaba and Aubrey Poo, it wasn’t enough to carry the mediocre performances delivered by the less experienced actors. The first few minutes of the movie, had more than one actor making awkward eye-contact with the camera – something that threw me off immediately. 

Also, as much as I enjoy musicals, there was something about the songs that I found oddly distracting; it was almost as if some of the characters were not completely in sync with the music.

However, all is not lost. One of the highlights are the powerful female characters. The women, are depicted as independent, tough, and successful. Yes, of course, there’s the predictable role of the handsome male lead who seems to have it all, but the damsel in this show is definitely not waiting around for prince charming to rescue her. 


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