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Film View: Umkhungo (The Gift)

1 umkhungo the gift poster

The setting is in the slums of Hillbrow, an overpopulated urban area of inner city Johannesburg, Umkhungo (The Gift) tells the story of Themba, a young boy shrouded since birth by paranormal events; which disturbed certain members of the family, who were than beyond cruel to the young boy; most say he was haunted by the ancestors.

2 UMKHUNGO the gift

Before his mother is murdered, she hides Themba, and then she is killed. His father mysteriously dies under unexplained circumstances. It is then Themba, though not trusting, is rescued by the disillusioned, tough street thug, Mthunzi.

He can’t leave Themba behind so they both flee deep into the city. Mthunzi finds himself responsible for this extraordinary young boy. After all, he couldn’t just abandon him.

3 UMKHUNGO the gift

Mthunzi is feeling haunted by the past disappearance of his brother, which makes him feel drawn to the child, therefore unable to abandon him. As the mystery surrounding the boy deepens, Themba suggests he may be able to use his mysterious and remarkable gifts to help find Mthunzi’s lost brother.

4 UMKHUNGO t&u in dry field

The two embark together, on a journey of discovery, as they try to locate Mthunzi’s brother. Time is essential, to keep ahead of his Uncle. So just as it seems Themba is coming to terms with his abilities, sure enough his Uncle, from the homelands, arrives with a band of armed men in official looking uniforms. This highly superstitious man is determined and wants to keep the boy shackled and hidden. His Uncle feels Themba is a curse and must be locked away.

5 Umkhungo the gift 'people won't understand this

Together, Mthunzi and Themba, an unlikely pairing, soon learn that Themba’s curse is in fact not a curse, it is a gift; a truly remarkable one – not the least, a powerful one.

The short film is told superbly and tenderly. The young man caring for Themba, is good inside. He shows it in his words to Themba.

6 Umkhungo the gift

Don’t be worried, there are sub-titles, but are barely noticeable. Most of what happens in this marvelously caring film, is shown through action and emotions. It is a moving piece of artistic film-making. I hope all will take the time to watch this tale of love and believing. Power comes in many forms. Difference does too. We need to see understanding can be given and discovering the truth about yourself is not at all what you once were made to believe. It is time to see the real you, the good you with the power, and not what the bad people make you think you are when you are not. I do highly recommend you see Umkhungo (The Gift).

‘Don’t Stay To Long In The Shadows’


Umkhungo (The Gift) – Mannequin Pictures – OPEN TO FULL SCREEN FOR BETTER IMAGES

UMKHUNGO (THE GIFT)
Written and Directed by…Matthew Jankes
Country…South Africa
Year…2011
Running Time…29m
Language…Zulu
Genre…Short, Drama, Fantasy, Paranormal

Cast:
Israel Makoe…Mthunzi
Sivuyisiwe Mtshaka…Themba

African Film Festival New York NY 2011

Matthew Jankes is a filmmaker born and raised in South Africa. He studied film through the University of Cape Town and the South African School of Motion Picture Medium (AFDA), training in writing, directing and cinematography.

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Words. Ideas. Visions. Sounds. Abstractions. Attract the Writer. Poet. Artist Inside of Me. Seeking Out the Unknown & Infinite Possibilities & Impossibilities. Living My Life Filled with Imagination & Creativity. Zen – j.kiley
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