UNomalanga And The Witch is one of my favourite short films. Partly because I love the two women who star in it but also because there is so much depth and complexity crammed into such a short piece of art.
The chemistry between the Mmabatho Monshto and Ferry Jele is palpable. The emotions are real and the humour believable. I also just love the layers IsiZulu adds to the film – it is a beautiful language and in this film, it brings the nuance to life.
Mmabatho’s character is perhaps the most transformed in the end, we see her blossom from an obedient wife and bible carrying proselytiser to a rebel with a twinkle in her eye despite or perhaps because of the warning of the good neighbour with an interest and many ears in everyone’s business, all in a manner of 20 minutes. Mmabatho and Jele take us on this journey, one transmuting and the other as the background without which the alteration would not be visible.
The story is one not usually told – two women who have little in common from the outside, sharing a connection so effortlessly albeit with a little trepidation. Nomalanga the good little wife who cooks for her husband, bakes scones and attends church every Sunday in a modest hat and sensible shoes – led by her husband to whom she submits, as all good wives do, finds in Salome – the witch, a kindred spirit.
Palesa Shongwe is quickly becoming one of my favourite directors.