Celebrating Africa’s Vibrancy

Ayanda

Ayanda_One-Sheet_small-poster

Director: Sara Blecher

Cast: Fulu Mugovhani, OC Ukeje, Nthathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Vanessa Cooke, Thomas Gumede, Jafta Mamabola

South African director of Otelo Burning, Sara Blecher, follows up her previous success with her new film Ayanda which opened the prestigious the 36th Durban International Film Festival DIFF in July 2015.

Set in the cosmopolitan suburb of Yeoville in contemporary Johannesburg, Ayanda tells the vibrant tale of a young 21 old girl who wants to keep her father’s memory alive by continuing to run his garage.

Amidst a whole bunch of trials and tribulations including fraud, economic hardship and entrepreneurial reinvention, Ayanda wonderfully played by Fulu Mugovhani, is determined to keep her father’s garage afloat financially by coming up with the brilliant scheme of refashioning old cars and then selling them at auctions. The first car Ayanda and her two faithful mechanics set on touching up a vintage Carmen Ghia brought down from Uganda. Each vintage car tells the story of its former owner, emblematic of an African migration to Johannesburg in search of a better life.

Ayanda deals as much with celebrating the cultural diversity of contemporary South Africa as well as the challenges of integration of a huge influx of immigrants from the rest of the African continent, specifically from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Director Sara Blecher takes great pains to emphasize the vibrancy of South Africa and with many directorial quirks the continent as a whole which is especially relevant in the wake of the recent Xenophobic attacks which occurred in Durban and Johannesburg in April 2015.

At times, Ayanda is a love story and also a comedy, but through all the turmoils of the main character, it is essentially a coming of age story about a young girl who has to deal with the sudden death of her father and of her mother who has to confront the ghosts of the past, while dealing with the treachery of Zama, gregariously played by Kenneth Nkosi, a new husband, and uncle to Ayanda, who has committed massive fraud at the cost of her family’s business.

Ayanda, despite its confusing story line is a celebration of African and in part South African vibrancy although the screenplay by Trish Malone could have done with some polishing. Unlike such films as Jerusalema and the Oscar winning Tsotsi, Ayanda does not dwell on the usual South African horrors of crime or violence but rather focuses on the vibrancy of the African continent to reach its full potential. Recommended viewing for a light, fun filled and positive spin on the possibilities that Africa and in turn South Africa has to offer.

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