WATCH: Who is Poppie Nongena?

Clementine Mosimane in Poppie Nongena. (Photo: Melanie Cleary)
Clementine Mosimane in Poppie Nongena. (Photo: Melanie Cleary)

Cape Town – Clementine Mosimane gives a heartbreakingly beautiful performance in the gripping new local film, Poppie Nongena.

Based on the award-winning novel by Elsa Joubert, the film releases in cinemas nationwide on 31 January 2020.

The novel, The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena, is regarded as one of the best African books of the twentieth century.

The film stars Celementine in the titular role alongside Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Chris Gxalaba, Rolanda Marais, David Minaar and Lida Botha.

Nomsa Nene, who played the title role to rave reviews in the international theatre production of Poppie, plays Poppie’s mother.

The film tells the story of a South African isiXhosa mother, whose life revolves around finding stability for her family during a period of insufferable upheaval in the country when African women were forced, by arrests, fines and forced removal, to leave their homes and resettle in remote areas designated as black homelands.

When her husband, Stone, became too ill to work, Poppie was deemed by the law to be an “illegal” resident in her own country. She engaged in a desperate struggle with the authorities for permission to stay, moving from house to house, applying for permits, applying for extensions, extensions of extensions, and using every means at her disposal to remain with her children.

Caught in the crossfire of her children’s needs, her husband’s illness, community anger and repressive laws, she was finally forced to give in just as the 1976 riots for freedom erupted.

Award-winning screenwriter and playwright Christiaan Olwagen directed the film with Vicci Turpin as the cinematographer. Olwagen’s previous work includes the critically acclaimed films, Johnny is Nie Dood Nie, Die Seemeeu and Kanarie.