SA film wins five awards in Zanzibar
The film features award-winning Ukhozi FM DJ Linda Sibiya and tells the story of a 9-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down when his father is doused with petrol and burnt to death
THE South African film Uhlanga: The Mark scooped five awards at the Zanzibar International Film Festival last week.
This was the 15th edition of the 10-day film extravaganza.
The festival is the biggest film, music and arts festival in East Africa and brings together new talent from all over the world.
Each year some of the most captivating and cutting-edge films from the African continent and beyond are screened at various venues across the island.
Uhlanga: The Mark, a low-budget film, received Golden Dhow Award, Ousman Sembene Award, the Verona Award and the Signis International Award.
Ndaba ka Ngwane, the writer, producer and director of the film, says receiving the awards was the proudest moment of his entire career.
"This was so unexpected. We were competing with celebrated and established film-makers from around the world.
"We did not think we stood a chance and were surprised that the film received such a warm reception," Ka Ngwane, who heads the production team, says.
The film features award-winning Ukhozi FM DJ Linda Sibiya.
The story is about Khaba Mkhize, a 9-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down when villagers descend on his family and his father is doused with petrol and burnt to death.
Khaba, his mother and his two younger sisters seek refuge in another village, but a generational curse seems to follow them wherever they go. Khaba's only source of hope and inspiration is the voice of a popular radio DJ.
The film has also made the official selection of the African Cinema Festival called Verona, which is scheduled to take place in Italy from November 16 to 25.
It will be screened for the first time at the Durban Film Festival this Saturday at the Suncoast Cinema at noon and on Sunday at Ekhaya Multi-Arts at 3.30pm.
This is South Africa's longest running film festival and is now in its 33rd year.
Ka Ngwane says that there was a time during filming when he felt like giving up because of financial constraints.
"But I am glad that there are more African filmmakers coming on board to tell our own stories," he says.
He is also an award-winning author and playwright. He wrote the Zulu novel Mhlaba Sengiyakwazi, which won him an award.
He has staged various theatre productions including Rain, After Tears, The Red Red Rose and Ronnie's Underwear.
His film credits include a short film Sindisiwe Saved, which he wrote, produced and directed in 2007.
The Wits university finance graduate, with accounting and auditing majors, also featured in an award winning television series When We Were Black.
Ka Ngwane also works as a radio presenter for Umgungundlovu FM. He hosts The Madhouse, a show that is primarily youth-oriented. It airs on Fridays between 8 and 10pm.
He is also an independent professional mentor for aspirant writers, directors and producers contracted by the Department of Arts and Culture in his province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Ka Ngwane worked as a financial manager and chief financial officer in the private and public sectors, before he chose a career as a theatre and film producer. - firstname.lastname@example.org