By Percy Mthimkhulu in South Africa
Published May 1, 2013
Paul Mashatile, the South African Minister for Arts and Culture, has congratulated his country’s actors and filmmakers for winning several awards at the 9th annual Africa Movie Academy Awards held in the Bayelsan State capital, Yenagoa, in Nigeria on April 20, 2013.
South Africans won the Best Actress in a Lead Role (Florence Masebe in ELELWANI); Best Cinematography (UHLANGA, THE MARK); Best Production Design (ELELWANI); and Best Animation (ADVENTURE OF ZAMBEZIA) awards.
ELELWANI, directed by Ntshavheni wa Luruli in Venda, is an ethnographic thriller with a disturbing plot. In it, Elelwani, the first woman in her village returns home with her fiancé for introduction only to learn that she is to marry the chief to whom she had been promised in marriage in childhood.
The Ndaba ka Ngwane-directed UHLANGA, THE MARK, on the other hand, explores the journey of three youngsters as they fight their respective demons to push their way to the top in contemporary South Africa. It is made in isiZulu.
ADVENTURE OF ZAMBEZIA is a light-hearted family fun film complete with fuzzy creatures, cute humour and a happy ending that keeps children smiling for days to come but it isn’t one that has adults laughing. Directed by Wayne Thornley, this computer-animated comedy and drama tells the story of a young falcon who leaves the desolate desert where he lives with his father to discover action and adventure in the big city of Zambezia. It is in English.
During the awards ceremony in the Gloryland Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, Thornley thanked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa for having funded the film.
Florence Masebe, on her part, expressed gratitude that her film, though having been made in Chivenda, which she termed as a language that is spoken by very few people, had won two awards at AMAA, including her own as Best Actress in a Lead Role.
“We congratulate our artists who have made us proud at this year’s AMA Awards. They have proven, once more, that South African film can hold its own against the best on our Continent and in the world,” said Mashatile.
Mashatile pledged government’s ongoing support to the local film industry.
“We will continue to support the local film industry with a view to ensuring that the South African story is told to audiences in our country, on the Continent and indeed in the whole world,” he said.
Part of strengthening the support for the industry, he said, includes the restructuring of the National Film and Video Foundation into a National Film Commission as well as the establishment of a Film Fund.
Additional reporting by Ogova Ondego in Nigeria.