Director and producer Nolubabalo on her star-studded movie, Nelson, a tale of love and forgiveness

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Nelson is a romantic film about love, betrayal and trust.
Nelson is a romantic film about love, betrayal and trust.

It is a story of love and forgiveness.

Shot in the scenic locations of Mthatha, East London, eSantini, Cintsa, and the Eastern Cape, the upcoming romantic drama Nelson is an emotional tale of two lovers who face an incredible challenge.

Directed and produced by Nolubabalo ‘Babsi’ Mcinga and written by Lukhanyo Sikwebu, Nelson is a touching tale of love, unity, forgiveness, and reaching out to men going through serious devastating social and mental effects by saying it is fine to cry as a man and get support. 

“Oliver battles to forgive his cheating wife and deals with issues that challenged his masculinity, when trust is broken,” Nolubabalo tells Drum.

“Lost and ruined, the couple consults therapists but they see the light after speaking to a wide elder who shared his own experiences. There’s an unexplainable purity to him," she adds.

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This is her first film as a producer and director. Nolubabalo ‘Babsi’ Mcinga says she did a lot of learning on the job. She has previously assisted in directing films, but this is her first production producing and directing with a star-studded cast.

“I have worked on Valedictory with Layla Swarts and Jamie’s Qubeka in the Arts Department dressing up the set, that was one of the highlights of my film journey as it is one of the most important departments in filmmaking. I've been part of Umjuluko, Ixakatho, and Mbali to name a few, and also produced the Magwa Tea Plantation Masterplan Commercial,” she says.

Born and raised in Graaff-Reinet a small town in the gem of the Karoo, film-making was brought to her doorstep by people who needed assistance in fundraising.

“I worked behind the scenes a lot, getting funding for people, product placement, business plans, talent scouting, and recruitment and I saw myself taking on a bigger role in the future,” she says.

She studied BSC at the University of Free State.

“I’m a graduate of Travel and Tourism at Damelin. I studied Project Management at UNISA and I’m currently a candidate for International Relations (University of London).

“I became more curious about producing and directing and I spent a lot of of time observing established directors and producers while they work. I researched the industry especially the making money business side of it and the bug bit me and have never looked back,” Nolubabalo says.

Funded by the Nelson Mandela Museum, Bathu footwear, and Be Able Foundation, Nolubabalo says this film should open doors for more films from the Eastern Cape.

“Nelson is a genuine love story and my mission in life is to love the unlovable and show grace through my acts, and lifestyle and come up with solutions to current challenges faced by the human race. We want this beautiful story open doors for filmmakers in the Eastern Cape.”

With Nelson, Nolubabalo‘s mission was it to be based on love and to teach.

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Choosing the cast of Nelson was a no-brainer.

“Funny how the cast changed from the initial list I wanted but fate always plays its part and the cast I ended up turned out to be the best I could have ever asked for,” Nolubabalo says.

The lead role of Oliver is played by actor and British Southern African and London-based artist Xavier Do Couto.

“I believe he is the next Will Smith. We met on the set of Isono two years ago and I loved the way he carried himself and his captivating voice. He seemed like the perfect candidate for Oliver. He traveled from the UK to shoot and did an amazing job."

Vuyiseka Cawe plays Buhle, the wife of Oliver who cheats and falls pregnant.

“We wanted someone with an angelic look and someone yet also deep and had many layers to them,” Nolubabalo adds.

Ayanda Makayi plays the role of Trevor who has an affair with Buhle.

“He was on my mind all the time but when the writer suggested him, I knew it was meant to be. Being a great actor and also having a passion for empowering the youth came as a bonus.” 

Vuyo Dabula plays Dr. Nawa a wise and spiritual elder who is the voice of reason.

“Vuyo’s character needed someone spiritual and deep. This film as mentioned is part of my mission to show genuine love and plant a seed of forgiveness and gratitude, and he was the perfect fit because he is deep. This being my first film as a director, Vuyo was God sent, he became an anchor as this was very supportive. I learned a lot from him.” Nolubabalo adds.

Nelson will premier in June 2022.

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