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South Africa's first dance movie to hit local screens

Written by Bathandwa Mbola

Sport, arts and culture

South Africa’s first movie showcasing the country’s dance talent and local youth embracing their identities 20 years after democracy was premiered on local screens last month.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa learns a few dance moves from the choreographer and actress of the movie Hear Me Move.Hear Me Move uses dance as a form of self-expression, and captures the vibrancy and rhythms of urban youth culture. This is a production by the youth for the youth, which was written and produced by Fidel Namisi, director and producer Scotness Smith and producer and actor Wandile Molebatsi.

The movie will hit Ster-Kinekor cinemas nationwide.

Namisi said the story is anchored on Muzi, the son of an amazing pantsula dancer, who is trying to discover the truth about his father’s life and death.

The film, which is shot in local languages and captures the lingo of urban South African youth, showcases energetic “sbujwa” and “pantsula” dance sequences, choreographed by the award-winning Paul Modjadji. It plays out against the backdrop of gritty, urban Johannesburg.

The film features a host of well-loved South African actors such as S’thandiwe Kgoroge, Makhaola Ndebele, Lillian Dube, Alfred Ntombela, Khanyi Mbau, Lorcia Cooper, Boity Thulo, Thembi Seete, Amanda Du Pont and radio DJ Khutso Theledi.

The sound track of the film is also 100 per cent South African.

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) supports the film, which has also premiered to critical acclaim at prestigious international festivals such as Toronto in Canada, Cannes in France and the United Kingdom.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the use of indigenous languages and township patois in the film imbues the flavour of popular culture and contributes towards the promotion and preservation of South Africa’s languages.

“The production of Hear Me Move is a turning point in getting the youth of South Africa to tell and write their own stories and history… We see young people who are reflecting the soul of their nation,” said the Minister.

He said the production is also a testimony of the commitment of young people to take their rightful place in society.

He believed that the success of the movie would put South Africa on the global map and also increase the contribution of the South African film industry to the gross domestic product.

The Minister called on all South Africans to support the movie, saying “for a very long time, South African popular culture did not reflect our identity, experience, history and heritage”.

He said the DAC was serious about the business of arts and was actively supporting the sector to make it globally competitive.

“Our mandate is to empower the youth to be able to pursue viable careers in the arts industry and we are determined to find ways for the youth to find creative outlets and innovative ways to release what’s in their souls.”

The movie received support from a number of institutions including the Department of Trade and Industry, Industrial Development Corporation, Gauteng Film Commission and the National Film and Video Foundation.

The R6.5 million movie created about 350 jobs, according to Molebatsi.