The movie that puts South Africa on the map


…That is what Nelson Mandela said about the movie “Tsotsi”. I went to the movies last night to see “Tsotsi” and I must say: Go! Go! Go! On Thursday it will disappear only to return on DVD in a couple of months. Tsotsi made a great impression on me and was not only a visual experience but also an emotional – almost existential experience.


The story takes place in a shantytown just outside of Johannesburg where Tsotsi (the lead character) has lived since he was a child. His world is a mixture of loss and brutality. It is a story about the difference between “having” and “not having” and about being capable to give love and take responsibility for another human being even though the odds are extremely bad. And it doesn’t really matter that the theme is classic-sentimental and the story kind of simple because Gavin Hood (A Reasonable Man 1999 and The Storekeeper 1998) has made an impressive film, which manage to balance between clichés and authenticity. Athol Fugards novel (the novel behind the movie) was written in the fifties but could have been written today as well. And that is both frightening and sad.

I bought some sweets just before the movie started and I payed with a 500 bill. The girl by the desk gave me back as if it was a 200 bill but I was in a hurry so I didn’t notice until after the movie. That’s a damn shame and I will probably never see my 300 again. But I woke up in a fully equipped apartment and I didn’t have to kill someone to get my coffee on my way to work.