Drama - Development 2013

UMTHOMBO is based on the true story of a young Englishman with a dream and a glue-addicted South African street kid who share a passion that will ultimately change a society – surfing.

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
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    • Producer(s)
    • Richard JOHNS (Corona Pictures), Rupert JERMYN (Corona Pictures)
    • Synopsis
    • While Tom is surfing his spot on a Durban beach, he notices a lone boy watching him. Unlike the other surfers, Tom doesn’t immediately believe this kid is up to no good. After several days he approaches the kid, 11 year old S’fiso. He is a young boy living on the streets, spending his time searching for rotting food and sniffing glue to escape the horror of his circumstance, one that has seen him run away from his township home due the abuse of his alcoholic parents to seek refuge on the deadly streets of the city.
      The two strike up a cautious friendship – S’fiso wanting to know more about surfing, and Tom about S’fiso and the world he comes from. They strike a bargain – if S’fiso will stop taking glue and promise to come to the beach every day, then Tom will teach him to even greater addiction.
      But S’fiso still goes back every night to the streets where systematic abuse takes place and the kids are used for crimes by older criminals. A place where his friends don’t understand why he likes to surf, and regard Tom as another white guy who just wants something. The kids have nowhere to turn as the police regard them as inhuman scum and routinely collect them from the streets, beat them severely and drive them hours out of the city in vans, hoping they won’t come back. On top of that the resident surfing population, who also regard the kids as vermin, don’t want them at the beach surfing their waves. Their racial abuse focuses on Tom as he is the one to bring the kid into the mix.
      What Tom couldn’t know was quite how good S’fiso would become, how one addiction became another, and how this one boy would inspire hundreds of others to surf to escape the tyranny of the streets.
    • Partners & financing
    • South Africa
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