africa-new-bannerjpg

REVIEW: Africa Melane on Kalushi and why it's a must watch

To book for Kalushi click here.

‘His blood is nourishing the trees that must still bear the fruits of freedom’.

Freedom did not come without a price. It was not only the struggle heroes whom we name roads, buildings, and parks after who paid that price. It was not only the brave men and women who endured exile, survived torture or gave their lives, who paid the price.

The grieving mother who never saw her son realize his promise; the doting girlfriend who was robbed of the warmth of a love she would create to welcome home a husband; the caring brother who had to deputize for their father in the struggle hero’s life when he was killed senselessly by an unforgiving regime.

Many people in South Africa paid the price for the Constitutional democracy we enjoy today. And you are reminded of this when you watch ‘Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu.’

In 2017 we find ourselves in a time when our elected leaders refuse to be held to account; a time when the shackles of colonisation threaten to deny our students their education; a time when captured state organs fail to deliver on the promise of the Constitution to millions of South Africans.

In 2017, this is an important film. It is a stark reminder that much of what the 1976 generation was fighting for is still valid today.

We first meet Solomon Mahlangu (Thabo Rametsi) a few days before the historic events of June 16, 1976. He is a young man from Mamelodi township near Pretoria. He is a high school student and a hawker, dutifully carrying his pass book. He wants to do well by his family and please his girlfriend. He is yet to be seduced by the ideology and aspirations of freedom espoused by political movements in the struggle against apartheid.

He makes the decision to go in to exile to join the African National Congress and its armed wing, Umkhonto WeSizwe, following a humiliating and degrading experience with the South African Railways Police Service. He leaves behind his family and girlfriend to join Tommy London (Welile Nzuza), Lucky (Jafta Mamabolo) and his good friend Mondy (played exceptionally by Thabo Malema) in crossing the border.

This is Mandla Dube’s feature film directorial debut of a script adapted from a play he co-wrote and co-produced with the State Theatre’s Aubrey Sekhabi. Dube tells Charl Blignaut of the City Press that this is not an anti-apartheid film. He says ‘Kalushi is a love story, on many levels. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young man pulled into the struggle because of police brutality.’

Dube directs the feature with great sensitivity. He neither praises nor judges Mahlangu. He does not idealise the young man, even when Mahlangu reflects on a very romantic ideal of the ‘revolution being the greatest act of love.’

Thabo Rametsi is a strong, though quiet actor. He allows us to see the compassion and the naivety of the youthful Solomon Mahlangu. And when he makes that decision to join the movement, we see a man determined to see the bold vision of freedom for all realised. He is one of many before him, and many who will come after him. The script, sadly, does not allow us to share fully in his evolution to the audacious and celebrated cadre of the struggle he is now.

Rametsi is well supported by the rest of cast. Special mention has to go to Thabo Malema and his superior portrayal of Mondy Motloung. And of course, Wandile Molebatsi, who only has a few minutes on screen as Mahlangu’s cowardly cousin, Phineas. His performance makes you wish that he had been given more lines.

The film does have its flaws. The editing could have been more efficient. The pacing more even. The accents of the various actors could have been more consistent with the period portrayed. And Dube could have delivered a more refined moving picture experience when he was directing the scene that informs the life changing decision that is taken by Mahlangu.

But do not let any of this deter you from seeing this important film.

The late OR Tambo would have celebrated his 100th birthday this October. In paying tribute to him at his funeral in 2003, the late Nelson Mandela said ‘Tambo lived because his very being embodied love, an idea, a hope, an inspiration, a vision.’

We all need to be reminded of this vision. And ‘Kalushi, The Story of Solomon’ will reignite that conversation again, I hope.

Mahlangu’s blood is still nourishing the trees that will bear the fruits of freedom.

KALUSHA: THE STORY OF SOLOMON MASHANGU Director: Mandla Dube Writers: Mandla Dube and Leon Otto Stars: Thabo Rametsi, Thabo Malema, Welile Nzuza, Jafta Mamabolo, Louw Venter, Fumani Shilubana, Pearl Thusi, Gcina Mhlophe,

WATCH: EWN goes behind the scenes of 'Kalushi', South Africa's latest historic film about struggle icon Solomon Mahlangu.

Click here for Ster-Kinekor bookings


This article first appeared on 702 : REVIEW: Africa Melane on Kalushi and why it's a must watch


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Capetonian bodybuilder placed 6th in the INBA competition

Capetonian bodybuilder placed 6th in the INBA competition

Award-winning bodybuilder, Jason Kleinsmith chats about being ranked among the top bodybuilders in the world.

Financially prepare yourself before the wedding bells

Financially prepare yourself before the wedding bells

Liberty Legal Marketing Specialist, Faeeza Khan talk us through a few financial pointers before getting hitched.

Can an ethical South Africa save itself?

Can an ethical South Africa save itself?

Chair of Anti-intimidation & Ethical Practices Forum, Dr Claudelle von Eck says that ethics could save the future of South Africa.

#Movember is not just about growing a moustache - think about your health

#Movember is not just about growing a moustache - think about your health

Nutrition Science Manager Gabriel Eksteen talks about strokes and the effect they have on old and young men

Water meter saving device changing kids habits at schools

Water meter saving device changing kids habits at schools

Africa Melane talks to Pragma CEO Adriaan Scheeres, a partner with CapeTalk, Shoprite, Bridgiot and Stellies Uni in the challenge.

Must watch: Biopic about Solomon Mahlangu

Must watch: Biopic about Solomon Mahlangu

The newly released Solomon Mahlangu biopic, Kalushi tells the gripping tale of the MK cadre . John Robbie chats to actor, Thabo Rametsi.

Popular articles
Financially prepare yourself before the wedding bells

Financially prepare yourself before the wedding bells

Liberty Legal Marketing Specialist, Faeeza Khan talk us through a few financial pointers before getting hitched.

Oscar's family unhappy with producers as movie makes SA debut this weekend

Oscar's family unhappy with producers as movie makes SA debut this weekend

The movie stars Joburg-born actor Andreas Damm as Pistorius and Victoria Secret model Toni Garrn as Reeva Steenkamp.

Statement to remove LLB programme from SA universities is misleading: Max Price

Statement to remove LLB programme from SA universities is misleading: Max Price

Max Price says Council on Higher Education's announcement that UKZN, UCT and UL could lose their LLB accreditation is not right.

Is taking items from the hotel room stealing?

Is taking items from the hotel room stealing?

Tsogo Sun Cape regional manager explains which items are free to be taken home by guests and why.

WATCH: Innovative spray limits toilet flushes and saves water

WATCH: Innovative spray limits toilet flushes and saves water

Loo Me is a simple yet effective scented foam that takes the yuck out of "mellowing" toilets preventing multiple flushes.