By Scottnes SMITH


Romance - Development 2015

A charlatan must compete with a score of unlikely suitors for the affection of his long-lost lover.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Romance
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Scottnes SMITH
    • Writer(s)
    • Fidel NAMISI
    • Producer(s)
    • Fidel NAMISI (Coal Stove Pictures), Wandile MOLEBATSI (Coal Stove Pictures)
    • Synopsis
    • It’s 1996 and awkward and shy Senzo, 13, falls head over heels in love with Ayanda, 13, a wealthy, upperclass black girl who comes with the rest of the her model – C classmates (she’s one of the only two black students in the school) on a fieldtrip to a township school. Senzo is convinced that he can win Ayanda over because he too has struggle credentials – his deceased parents died in exile – although his best friend Vusi reminds him that this is a tall-tale Senzo’s aunt invented to soothe Senzo’s troubled soul because everyone knows Senzo was adopted. Not be deterred, Senzo composes a love poem for Ayanda, incurring the wrath of Ayanda’s sole black classmate, Garreth, who also has the hots of Ayanda. Garreth plays a practical joke on Senzo that makes him the laughing stock of the school, and more painfully, makes Ayanda dismiss Senzo altogether.
      Jump forward sixteen years later to the present day. Senzo (29) has had little luck in his life. Unemployed. he has set up a business under the assumed name of Prophet Mazinga, and claims to heal all sorts of ailments, as well as solve bad luck, get people jobs, enlarge penises and bring back their lost lovers. Like all physicians, he cannot heal himself, and has had no luck in love. Meanwhile, Garreth and Ayanda have also grown up. Ayanda’s family is even more wealthy and run a spring water company. Garreth wants to marry Ayanda solely to have control over a portion of that wealth.
      When Ayanda spurns him yet again, Garreth – acting on the advice of his mistress Lebo – decides to visit a prophet to bring back his lost lover. It turns out that he visits Senzo, who has little difficulty piecing the puzzle together and realizing that his clients are Garreth and Ayanda, his old acquaintances from school. Overcome with nostalgic memories of love, Senzo decides he must see Ayanda one more time, and acting on Garreth’s information, he stalks her to the orphanage where she spends most of her time doing charity work. When Senzo sees Ayanda again, he falls even more in love with her and resolves to get her back for himself. Working with his best friends and assistant Vusi, he finds out that Gideon, Ayanda’s father, will never let her “marry downnards” so to speak, so Senzo resolves to prove to the whole world that he is indeed a wealthy man.
      Senzo uses Garreth’s downpayment to get himself new clothes and jewelry. Assuming a double barreled surname and a false identity as the child of a lesser known struggle hero who died in exile, he steps into Gideon and Ayanda’s high flying life by gaining entrance at a benefit party that they’re hosting. Gideon wants to use the party to woo investors for his struggling company, while Ayanda seeks philanthropists to support the orphanage. Senzo turns out to be the life of the party, impressing the wealthy old white people with his pantsula dancing and his unassuming nature. When Gideon realizes this he is quick of set up a meeting with Senzo to discuss a job in his company. Meanwhile, Senzo hits on Ayanda hard and pretends that he loves volunteering and working with children. So Ayanda invites him to spend some time at the children’s home.
      Meanwhile, Garreth goes back to visit the prophet and finds that he’s absconded with his downpayment. When he tries to track him down, he runs into trouble with the locals due to his arrogant attitude, and he gets robbed and beaten up. Going back to his car, he finds all the tires gone and the car resting on bricks. He is left without a phone and without money to even go back home. Too proud to beg, he is essentially left stranded in the township.
      Senzo goes to the childrens home where he pretends to really love the children, though he hates them and they hate him back. But he manages to pull the wool over Ayanda’s eys. At the company, he gives the marketing team some ideas that will make their product, bottled spring water, more relevant for black people, and his ideas catch on with the marketing team.
      Meanwhile, Ayanda’s gay best friend, Mandla, suspects that Senzo is an imposter. He sends an anonymous tip-off to the mother superior of the nuns who run the orphanage, claiming that Senzo is a child molester. When the mother superior visits she recognzises Senzo as one of the orphans who got adopted from the home several years earlier, and Senzo’s world comes crashing down around his head. Senzo extracts the truth about his past from his aunt and realizes that he too is an orphan just like the other kids in the orphanage.
      This marks a complete change in Senzo, who now realizes that he is just like the kids that he was mistreating. He starts to genuinely take a liking to them, and this brings him closer to Ayanda. Senzo’s guilt eats him up inside and he is all for telling Ayanda the truth about himself being a prophet, but Vusi cautions him against it.
      At the same time, however, Senzo manages to enlist the help of a hooker in the township named Sweets, who helps him get the proof that Senzo is a charlatan.
      Sales at the spring water company are skyrocketing and the company regains its financial footing thanks to Senzo. Just as Gideon is poised to announce that Senzo will be the new marketing director since Gideon’s gone AWOL, Gideon arrives with the proof that Senzo is a fake, and things fall apart yet again for Senzo. He is unceremoniously kicked out the building and Ayanda tells him that she never wants to see him again.
      Heartbroken, Senzo goes back to the only place he really feels at home, which is the orpahange. While there, one of his new little best friends, a nine year old girl named Nomonde, tries to cheer him up by reading him a poem. Senzo recognizes that it’s the same poem he wrote to Ayanda all those years before, and realizes that Ayanda kept it for all that time. With a faint glimmer of hope restored in his heart, he decides to make a last ditch effort to regain Ayanda. But this time, Mandla is on his side, after he reveals that he too is in love with Ayanda and only pretended to be gay so he could be close to her.
      Senzo orchestrates a showdown meeting between Ayanda, himself, Garreth and Mandla and forces Ayanda to choose between them. He and Mandla come clean about their motives and machinations, but Garreth keeps on lying, so Ayanda chooses him.
      Six months later, just as Ayanda and Garreth announce their engagement, the hooker who had helped Garreth out of a tight spot shows up unannounced. Garreth has been ignoring her calls, so she returns to wreak vengeance, armed with proof that Garreth only wanted Ayanda for her money, proof she extracted from Garreth six months earlier as he lay drunk in the sheebeen.
      This debacle deals a deathblow to Ayanda and Garreth’s relationship and Ayanda goes out looking for Senzo. When she finally finds him she tells Senzo that he isn’t a charlatan because he brought her back.
    • Partners & financing
    • UK or European co-production Partner
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Jul 01, 2015