7 best South African movies to stream right now

(Image: Supplied)
(Image: Supplied)

The seven films listed here are all award winners, featuring the best of SA talent both in front of and behind the camera. And they’re all currently streaming on Showmax. 

Plus, there’s a bonus: a brand-new season of Mzansi’s grittiest series, Lockdown, is coming exclusively to Showmax. While you wait for Season 5 to launch on 30 January, binge the first four seasons now. Two episodes will be coming to Showmax weekly. 

Die Stropers (2019) 

This critically acclaimed English-subtitled movie was released internationally with the title The Harvesters. It’s a coming of age tale about a youngster who’s forced to confront his personal choices when his family takes in a troubled young boy on their farm. The fact that the core theme is never overtly named by the characters makes the journey more intricate and involved, drawing you in as the two teens grow closer. Die Stropers is First on Showmax. 

Sew the Winter to my Skin (2018) 

This isn’t an easy watch – it’s set in the 50s when racial hatred was peaking – but it is an important one.

It’s written from a journalist’s viewpoint, recalling a hero hidden in the shadows who robs from rich farmers to help his community. It’s a poignant look inside the oppressive government and how there were rebels – like sheep thief John Kepe – willing to fight the cruel, unethical, immoral and violent system. Some of the scenes are graphic, but it is at its core a seriously good movie.

It’s directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka, who has mastered the craft of storytelling in cinema over decades in the business. And if you needed any more reason to stream it, it was SA’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards. It’s streaming first on Showmax. 

Bypass (2017) 

Dr Lisa Cooper is a renowned cardiac surgeon, used to playing by the rules. But when the van carrying her critically ill son's new liver is set alight, she is forced to confront the question: how far will she go to save him? What would she do, and what laws will she break?

Bypass shines a light on organ trafficking and illegal operations that take place in hospitals around the country. The movie stars Natalie Becker as the doctor, alongside Deon Lotz (last seen as Diederik Brand inTrackers) and well-know actors Hakeem-Kae Kazim and Greg Kriek. Bypass is First on Showmax. 

Inxeba: The Wound (2017)

This movie had South Africa up in arms debating its content and whether it was correct for a movie to expose a sacred tradition to outsiders. The tradition in question is initiation, where teen boys are sent into the wilderness to perform rites and customs, be circumcised and return to their communities as men.

The movie won 14 awards internationally, as far away as Taiwan and Sarasota in the US, and speaks to the audience about things that are often swept under carpets and deemed taboo when in fact, there is nothing more important than exploring them – whether the elders accept it or not.

Kanarie (2018)

The apartheid military was a very rough and difficult place for any young man, thrown in as they were into the deep end of the pool of toxic masculinity. The bigger your muscles, the better. The bushier your beard, great. The meaner you were to anyone less masculine than you, spectacular. And that’s a problem for Johan Niemand, a delicate young man who’d prefer to dress in drag as his hero, 80s pop icon Boy George than shoot the enemy across the border.

Kanarie has just been nominated for a 2020 GLAAD Award in the category Outstanding Film: Limited Release. The award recognises work that is a fair and inclusive representation of LGBTQI characters and issues. Kanarie is First on Showmax. 

Five Fingers for Marseilles (2017)

This noir Western is set in the late 80s/early 90s and combines a mixture of genres into a melting pot of brilliance. Besides the stellar cast of SA acting superstars, the story it tells is more important in the current political climate than ever before. 

It follows a small remote community which is under siege from invaders who take everything in sight, from land to cattle, leaving decimation in their wake. Until the community fights back. A split timeframe sees the past and future, as the struggle against apartheid sparks the fight for a different kind of freedom.

Meerkat Maantuig (2017)

Most children are afraid of monsters, the scary ones hiding in their closet or under their bed. But Gideonette De La Rey (Anchen du Plessis) has a different fear in Meerkat Maantuig: she fears death. Or rather falling victim to the De La Rey Curse, where everyone named Gideon dies at an early age.

After her father's death, she's sent to live with her grandparents. That’s where Gideonette meets Bhubesi (Themba Ntuli), a deaf boy who’s training to become an astronaut and fly into space with his Meerkat Maantuig (moon ship). But there's more to this boy than Gideonette initially realises. This sweet film was nominated for and won a slew of awards.

How to get Showmax from R49 per month

Sign up for Showmax mobile and get full access to the full catalogue on one mobile device for R49PM. Vodacom customers can get Showmax Mobile plus 2GB data for R99PM. 

Other ways to get Showmax 

New customers get a 14-day free trial and then pay R99 per month. 

DStv Premium subscribers get Showmax free - go to showmax.com to sign up. DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers pay R49pm

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