About This Project

Set in the slums of Hillbrow, an overpopulated urban area of inner city Johannesburg, Umkhungo tells the story of Themba, a young boy shrouded since birth by paranormal events; most say haunted by the ancestors. When his mother is murdered, and his father dies in mysterious and unexplained circumstances; Themba is rescued by a disillusioned street thug, Mthunzi.

Fleeing deep into the city, Mthunzi finds himself responsible for this extraordinary young boy. Haunted by the past disappearance of his brother, Mthunzi finds himself drawn to the child, unable to abandon him. As the mystery surrounding the boy deepens, Themba suggests he may be able to use his remarkable gifts to help find Mthunzi’s lost brother. The two embark on a journey of discovery as they try to locate Mthunzi’s brother. Yet, just as it seems Themba is coming to terms with his abilities, his Uncle, from the homelands, arrives. This highly superstitious man wants to keep the boy shackled and hidden. Together, Mthunzi and Themba, an unlikely pairing, soon learn that Themba’s curse is in fact not a curse, it is a gift; a truly remarkable one – not the least a powerful one.

In 2009 “Umkhungo” was selected from hundreds of entries as one of 5 winning screenplays by Focus Features, as a part of their Africa First Program. The film was shot in central Johannesburg during mid winter.  For larger crowd scenes, the real living dynamic within the city was used and has lead to what many people attribute the rich visceral detail of the film.



2011 Africa In Motion (Scotland)

Winner best short film

2012 Film Africa (United Kingdom)

Winner best short film

2012 Montreal Black international Film Festival (Canada)

Official Selection and honourable mention

2012 Image et Vie Film Festival (Senegal)

Winner best short film

2013 South African Film and Television Award (South Africa)

Winner best short Film