Cast: Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, Mduduzi Mabaso, Hamilton Dhlamini, Vele Manenje
Director: Mandla N
Time: 97 minutes
Age restriction: 13VL
Release date: 21 May 2020
Our rating: 4/5 stars
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Fresh out of university, Charlotte Grootboom is a teacher on a quest to break down barriers by being a black teacher in a predominately white model-C school during apartheid South Africa. Things don’t really go according to plan, but she ends up with a better teaching opportunity that allows for her to truly live out her dreams as an educator.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Loving Thokoza stars Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (Charlotte Grootboom) as an English teacher who changes the face of a school in Thokoza, a township in Ekurhuleni, through debating. Inspired by her journalist malume, Uncle Darlington (Hamilton Dhlamini), she strives to change the face of education the same way he changed the face of journalism. According to Mandla N, Charlotte was heavily based on freedom fighter Charlotte Maxeke who was the first black woman to obtain a university degree in South Africa.
This is Mandla’s first feature film entry and it was filmed in nine days with many scenes being shot during lockdown. It’s safe to say there is nothing quite like it out there.
The drama touches on every theme there is in movies about apartheid South Africa: fighting for freedom, police brutality, overcoming the impossible and the effects of one’s failures.
The storyline isn’t necessarily predictable as you don’t know which aspect of an “apartheid South Africa movie” it is going to focus on. The violence in the movie isn’t directed towards white people but is focused on the tribalism that occurred during that time.
Enhle gives the audience one of her best performances by truly investing in her character and Charlotte’s emotions.
Although Mduduzi Mabaso (Moscow) plays a role that he is familiar with, a thug, he softens up as Charlotte’s love interest. He showers her with books that he himself has read and in return, she protects him by making sure Mr Msomi the tribalist doesn’t kill him.
Another theme that plays out in the end is forgiveness. Uncle Darlington forgives himself for his past by going back to writing as a way of cleaning out his dirty laundry. Charlotte also forgives herself by not doubting her power to educate, despite which school she teaches at. This is seen through her rejection of an offer she received to teach at a model-C school she was once couldn’t get into.
If you are looking for a movie that will tug at your heartstrings and bring back a sense of nostalgia for some, this is it. It’s also an educational film that will have the younger generation asking questions that need historical answers.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: