KALUSHI

By Mandlakayise DUBE

NATIONAL FILM & VIDEO FOUNDATION OF SOUTH AFRICA - as FIN

Thriller - Completed 2015

Too Young To Die, Too Brave To Live

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Thriller
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 110 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Mandlakayise DUBE
    • Writer(s)
    • Mandlakayise DUBE, Leon OTTO
    • Producer(s)
    • Walter AYRES, Mandlakayise DUBE
    • Synopsis
    • The Film is based on a true story of the unlikeliest of heroes; a nineteen year old hawker, a Mamelodi township boy selling veggies to help support his family, avoiding the rioting at school, and train-surfing with his friends. But our first glimpses into Solomon's story reveal his involvement in the Goch Street shootings, then as captives in the notorious John Vorster Square, and also at the commencement of the Supreme Court trial for murder and acts of terrorism.
      With these important markers in his future timeline, we track his story from its meek beginnings as vendor on the passenger trains running between Mamelodi and Pretoria – the Apartheid government's base of power. Solomon lives with his mother, Martha Mahlangu, and brother, Lucas Mahlangu in their humble shantytown home. His call to adventure comes in the form of slick township cleva Tommie London who invites the trio: Solomon, Mondy Motluong and Brenda Riviera to join him on an upcoming march against oppressive Bantu Education laws. But Solomon feels his responsibilities towards his family outweigh yet another student protest.
      Solomon soon regrets rejecting the call to join the Struggle for Freedom. He's beaten, tortured and sodomized by the brutal Station Police. Mondy returns from the June 16th bedlam, equally bloody and bruised accompied by Tommie London, Brenda and a new recruit Lucky. Tommie London informs him that they are leaving for exile in a couple of days and that he must make a decision to either join them or stay behind and support his family. Out of his apathy and inertia he decides to join the ANC.
      It is here where the B-story picks up: the Minister of Police has appointed straight-faced Captain Erik Van Heerden, a department outsider, to lead the investigation of the terrorist attack and cruel murder of two white men – two bantu youths are in their custody. The ANC in Lusaka assign reprentatives: Priscilla Jana, Cliford Mailer and Mr. Ayob to represent Solomon during trial. This attack comes almost exactly a year after the mess in Soweto on June 16th, confined inside the bowls of the infamous Apartheid prison, we see Solomon relive his journey into exile.
      Before sneaking out in the middle of the night, Solomon leaves a note: "Bhut’ Lucas Bhut’ Lucas Bhut’ Lucas I have left, please don’t bother looking for me." He rendezvous with Comrade Tommie, Mondy and Lucky, and crosses the border into Mozambique. They are detained by a Frelimo border patrol, and are escorted to a refugee camp in Shai-Shai. During their stay they meet a young boy by the name of Coca Cola who forms a close friendship with Solomon. The connection is strengthened when he helps the trio and Tommie London to get word to the ANC for assistance to rescue them from the camp's awful living conditions. Comrade Eve is the emissary sent to save them and escorts them to an MK training camp outside of Luanda, Angola.
      In Angola, Solomon receives the name ‘Kalushi’ as his Nom du Guerre ('War Name'). The trio and many other trainees undergo fitness training, engage in political debates and many other activities of life in the military. The theoretical training they receive on the use of an AK 47 is soon followed by the practical use of the apparatus in a simulated environment. There is a huge thrill as this is a first time experience... While on training, an MK Command arrives and they are sent on a critical mission: to attack targets across South Africa in order to distract Vorster's war machine's attention away from the People marching in Soweto during the upcoming anniversary of the fateful June 16th.
      Solomon's saboteur cell consisting of him, Tommie London, Mondy and Lucky, is ordered to return to South Africa and plant explosives at a Police station in Thembisa. On their way back to South Africa from Angola, their first stop is in Swaziland where they receive their new Swazi passports along with instructions to their next DLB (Dead Letter Box). Tommie London is left behind in Swaziland due to injury. This results in the leading role being given to Solomon.
      The Trio enter South Africa and head to Middleburg where they find a suitcase with pistols, Scorpion sub-machine guns, hand grenades and grocery consignments to complete the mission.
      Mondy loses grip of the suitcase and it falls to the ground, leaking its contents; hand grenades, pistols, AK47’s and MK pamphlets. This heralds the start of the Goch Street Event, as Solomon's trial for the murder of two white mechanics in a workshop on Goch street in downtown Jo'burg gets underway. The courtroom becomes alive with witness testimonies and Solomon's fate is entwined with Mondy's in the Law of Common Purpose. Will Solomon face the hangman's noose and be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom? Kalushi – The Story of Solomon Mahlangu is a high-paced political thriller following the journey of a young hawker become an international icon of Freedom.
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