South African film uncovers the dark side of boxing

Bongile Mantsai potrays Dudu Nyakama on 'Knuckle City'./Supplied
Bongile Mantsai potrays Dudu Nyakama on 'Knuckle City'./Supplied

South African film Knuckle City is a riveting and brutal story.

The film, that is set to open at local cinemas nationwide, features local stars Bongile Mantsai, Siv Ngesi, Khulu Skenjana, Owen Sejake, Patrick Ndlovu and the late Nomhle Nkonyeni, among others.

Directed by Jahmil Qubeka, Knuckle City is about an aging, womanising professional boxer who tries by all means to resuscitate his dying career at a cost. The movie unpacks a painful yet beautiful story about Mdantsane in Eastern Cape, a township regarded as the Mecca of boxing.

Though people are passionate about boxing in Mdantsane, it looks like they cannot escape the life struggles of poverty, prostitution and drugs.

More than that, the film exposes the exploitation of boxers by greedy promoters. It exposes how boxers put their lives in danger and in the process do not gain financial value.

The plot follows Dudu Nyakama, played by Bongile Mantsai of Inxeba and Scandal! fame, a struggling boxer from Mdantsane whose career is fading as he ages.

The 37-year-old boxer seem to have fallen out of favour and promoters are vying for young and energetic boxers. On the contrary, Nyakama is hungry for fights and also to feed his struggling family.

His career gets a promising lifeline when his younger brother Duke, a seasoned criminal, teams up with other promoters to organise the last fight for him.

But the fight comes with a lot of costly conditions - some could see the whole family being killed if Nyakama lose the fight. He is given a condition to knock the opponent in fourth round.

His road to the final match is not made easy as he meets a lot of challenges that threatens his eye sight, but at the end he emerges victorious. This is a well directed and edited film, but be warned: it is not for the faint-hearted.

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