Movie Review: Ngeculo

Sello Maake ka Ncube (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Sello Maake ka Ncube (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Cast: Lunathi Mampofu, Tina Jaxa, Sello Maake KaNcube, Thembinkosi Mthembu

Directors: Kholeka Khoza and Charlie Samson

Runtime: 53 minutes

Genre: Drama

Age Restriction: N/A

Our rating: 3/5 stars

What it’s about:

Thandi is searching for her sister Hlengiwe in Johannesburg. Sadly, Hlengiwe has already passed on but her death unearths a big secret.


What we thought about it:

Ngeculo tells a familiar story. Many leave their small hometown to live out their dreams in Johannesburg but end up following the wrong path. A hopeful Hlengiwe (Sisekho Velelo) dreams of starting a singing career but gets mixed up with the wrong people, including her boyfriend Drift (Thembinkosi Mthembu). Her younger sister, Thandi (Lunathi Mampofu), goes down the same path but her ways change as she realises that she has more in common with her sister than she thought.

The movie is like a longer version of LaSauce’s Ncese music video, which stars Zola Nombona and Sdumo Mtshali and is directed by Nomzamo Mbatha.

The story of small-town people moving to the big city has been told in many films over the years. Something bad is bound to happen. But what’s interesting about Ngeculo is that it’s not so easy to say where the story will go.

The drama touches on themes like the effect of drugs, being born again after taking the wrong path in life and looking out for those you love. There are two subplots; one follows how two of the main characters – who are complete strangers when they meet – are brought together, the other looks at the person who’s behind ruining everyone’s lives.

Sello Maake KaNcube (Pastor Nkomo/Dragon) and Tina Jaxa (Mamkhulu) are the most experienced actors in the movie, however, they play smaller yet powerful roles. In their respective roles, they both control how the movie goes and how it could have gone as they, as elders, have power over the younger characters.

Lunathi’s character is an underdog who shouldn’t be underestimated. While she starts selling drugs, she is strong enough not to take them. She also stays focused by assuring Mamkhulu that everything is fine and by continuing to search for her sister.

Thembinkosi’s switch from playing Drift to Malusi shows his great talent as an actor. By looking out for his late girlfriend’s younger sister, he becomes the cure to the problem he made. Although he is reluctant at first, he has to help in order to gain some form of redemption.

The movie is short but doesn’t feel rushed. If you’re looking for a film to watch while doing your hair or taking a break from working too hard, this Mzansi storyteller gets the job done.

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