A violent journey to womanhood

       Miche Moses starring in the film The Mother's House.
TROUBLED: Miche Moses starring in the film The Mother's House.

A STEREOTYPICAL and emotionally overwhelming documentary about a young girl from a notorious coloured township outside Cape Town has brought a positive change to its characters.

Released in 2005 and directed by Francois Verster, The Mother's House records four significant years in the life of Miche Moses, a teenager with a seemingly promising future that is troubled by family violence, drugs and gangsterism in her community.

The film is currently showing at selected Ster-Kinekor and Cinema Nouveau movie theatres as part of the Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival, which ends on September 23.

The documentary has achieved international best documentary and film status seven times and has also been recognised at the SA Film and Television Awards.

Seven years later, Miche, 23, has completed high school and is surviving life with her two children and boyfriend in an area outside Bonteheuwel.

In the documentary, her grandmother's house is the generational home that reflects the social dysfunctions that affect her family.

Amy, her granny, is the offspring of apartheid. Miche's mother Valencia is HIV-positive, and her aunt, Renecia, were raised by an angry and strong woman who physically abused them in an effort to "raise them well".

"After the film was released, people mocked us, not everyone was open-minded about it. It hasn't been easy," said Miche.

The film reveals a stubborn Miche who rejects the negative trends which have already taken hold of her primary school friends.

Forced to take over her mother's responsibilities, and witnessing vile fights between her elders, Miche matures quickly but an emotional breakdown, loneliness and peer pressure take her to boiling point.

Her spiral starts with a romantic relationship, and then depression sets in, causing her to mutilate herself by cutting her arms. This is followed by tik and cocaine.

On a lonely journey to womanhood, she bravely seeks professional help for her drug problem and in the end, when the opportunity avails itself, she heads off to a private school when a relative rescues her. - monnakgotlam@sowetan.co.za