TOWNSHIP SUPERHERO

SEKWANKWETLA

DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUND PRODUCTIONS - as PROD

Fantasy - Development 2014

Good triumphs over evil when an inept would be superhero with ineffective powers finally confronts his past, unlocking their true potency that drives him to rescue a ravaged township from the clutches of a vengeful gangster.

    • Year of production
    • 2014
    • Genres
    • Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Comedy
    • Countries
    • SOUTH AFRICA
    • Languages
    • Other, ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Synopsis
    • An over the hill circus strongman SANKATANA, arrives back to his home town in the Free State for a makeshift one man show only to discover that the community hall he was supposed to perform in has been destroyed. The dilapidated hall, which also functioned as a stirring youth centre in the past, now seems to reflect the broken soul of the rest of the neighbourhood wrecked by unemployment, poverty and crime.
      He is invited to perform his one dumb trick - lifting heavy objects such as adults and car engines tied to a chain with only his clenched teeth - at the thriving local tavern owned by a one time high school bully turned township tycoon, LEFU.
      Desperate for money and eager to reclaim his fairgrounds glory days, Sankatana accepts to perform at the tavern even though he was once a victim of Lefu’s intimidation at school. Taken aback by his newfound friendship with a childhood tormentor, Sanakatana’s old flame NALEDI, now a teacher warns him that the tavern is the main enemy of the school, turning students into rowdy, drunk hooligans.
      Ignoring Naledi’s pleas, Sankatana goes ahead with his appearance at the tavern. However his hopes are soon violently dashed when a drunken scuffle with a local youth breaks out in the middle of his performance. He is brutally stabbed and left for dead in the street.
      A coal deliveryman on a donkey cart finds him half dead at a dumping site, in the early hours of the morning. Incidentally, it is the same dumping ground where Lefu used to torment him after school, with black smoke from burning junk bellowing in the background.
      The donkey cart man takes him to the local healer and priestess MMAMETSI, who lives in a cave in the mountain overlooking the township. She nurses Sankatana back to life with her powerful traditional medicines.
      On his recovery, Sankatana comes to realise that he has acquired strange powers. Not only can he lift hefty objects with ease, he can also fly, even if for half a meter off the ground at fifteen km/h. Mmametsi reveals that the new powers have been curtailed and he can access their full capacity if he performs an initiation ritual at a lake deep in the caves.
      Sankatana is warned by Mmametsi to never touch alcohol and adds that the powers have been endowed on him for good cause and not personal vendettas. Sankatana promises to undertake the ritual. It soon becomes clear however that he has no intentions of doing so as he begins exploiting them for his performances.
      Acting against Mmametsi’s advice, he puts up a show at a soccer ground, entertaining the crowds with his stunted low flying abilities. Sankatana’s performance is cut short by Lefu who wildly spins his car creating a cloud of dust that suffocates him before collapses to the ground humiliated. Again Mmametsi reminds him about the ritual and using the powers for the good of the community.
      Sankatana approaches Naledi and together they plan to rebuild the youth centre, the place where he learned to master his famous lifting trick many years ago. Former ballroom dance partners when they were teenagers at the centre, Sankatana and Naledi recruit students and offer them lessons, rekindling their feelings in the process. The centre is slowly transformed into a bustling place of ballroom, Pantsula dance and strongman shows. Secretly, Sanakatana begins to realise that his powers are growing strong.
      As Sankatana’s notoriety spreads, more young people begin to flock to the centre, abandoning the tavern, Lefu decides to launch and attack with his gang. They meet their match however when Sankatana, to his own surprise, defeats them with ease, flinging the gang in the air before he squashes Lefu’s car to a Coke can size and handing it back to him.
      Sankatana is proclaimed a neighbourhood hero and the centre’s resurrection looks to be on course. Him and Naledi become a couple again. However, Mmametsi warns him that the powers are only temporary.
      When Naledi enquires about the ritual, Sankatana finally confesses that when they were kids, Lefu was responsible for his near drowning at the lake and he is still haunted by the experience.
      Encouraged by his powers, Sankatana disguises himself into the donkey cart man, a balaclava pulled over his face and begins his quest to fight crime accompanied by a pack of mysterious township mangy dogs that have started following him around. The tavern becomes his prime target.
      Enraged Lefu swears revenge and approaches Mmametsi’s arc nemesis and master witch MMAMOLOI and pays her to transform him and his gang into terrifying supernatural beings, even more powerful than Sankatana. Mmamoloi unleashes lightening that strikes Sankatana, leaving him with open wounds that begin to weaken him. Mmametsi is unable to help.
      Sankatana begins to be driven insane by Mmamoloi’s muti. He becomes increasingly unable to control his powers and starts acting out. He starts performing recklessly in public for money – pulling a truck with his bare hands, bullying a young couple by lifting the boy over his head with one hand and continues to flirt with the terrified girl. Later he fights a hundred men on the dusty football pitch for a bet. In a wild delirious state, he obliterates apart of his neighbourhood shantytown, forcing the community to turn against him.
      Sankatana’s fate seems sealed when a body of a young girl from the centre is found in the field, mutilated in a muti ritual. Desperate, he turns to alcohol and is soon transformed into a raving lunatic. The centre is closed down. Sankatana is later seen marching up and down township streets, with his clothes tattered and foaming at the mouth. He is found by Mmametsi and the donkey cart man, sprawled in the rain at the dumpsite. They pick him up and take him to the cave where Mmametsi performs the ritual in the lake.
      Mmametsi then cooks herbs and medicines on a fire and makes him drink the bitter concoction then leaves him submerged neck-high in the water, silently guarded by the canines.
      In the early hours of the morning Sankatana emerges out of the cave. His powers fully restored, he launches down the mountain as if on skiing on an invisible high-speed conveyor. He arrives at the centre to find Lefu and his gang of half-human, half-zombie hybrids descending upon it with machetes and petrol bombs. Lefu is there in a crude armoured vehicle.
      In a tense face-off, Sankatana sticks his finger down his throat and starts vomiting out Mmametsi’s medicinal concoction, spraying the zombies like a fire hose. As the medicine mixture burns into them like acid, the members of the zombie-like gang collapse to the ground, clutching their gaping, sliced throats, leaving Lefu to face Sankatana by himself.
      Lefu and Sankatana take each other on in a hand-to-hand combat. Initially Lefu is much stronger, destroying nearby shacks as he smashes Sankatana into them like a sack of coals.
      After an intense fighting, they find themselves at the notorious dumpsite. Mmametsi, Naledi and the students watch on as a weakened Sankatana collapses to the ground. Convinced of a sure victory and full of arrogance, Lefu sits himself in the armoured vehicle.
      Suddenly the hounds surround Sankatana protectively as he lies prostrate on the ground.
      Through the windscreen, Lefu watches as the dogs bizarrely begin to urinate on Sankatana. It is not long before is miraculously resuscitated, executing an acrobatic front flip to land on his feet. His eyes on Lefu, he licks some of the liquid on his lips. Lefu screams out and steps on the pedal. The car guns and rams into Sankata, blowing out a cloud of dust.
      As the dust clears, it reveals Sankatana still on his feet. The car is a wreck of twisted metal all around him. A bloody Lefu staggers out and collapses on the ground. The students pick up the gang’s petrol bombs and toss them at Lefu’s tavern. Sankatana, Naledi and Mmametsi watch as it goes up in flames.
      The end.
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Dec 01, 2014
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