Bookings have opened for the legacy film, Poppie Nongena, which releases in cinemas nationwide on 31 January 2020. The film wowed audiences at its official premiere event in Johannesburg last week. Guests applauded and were moved to tears by the performances and emotion conveyed on screen.
This feature film is based on the true story, told in the book The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena, which is regarded as one of the best African novels of the twentieth century.
Clementime Mosimane (Soul City, The Wild) plays the role of Poppie, alongside Anna-Mart van der Merwe (Die Storie van Klara Viljee, Kanarie), veterans Chris Gxalaba (Long walk to freedom, The Crown, ER, Mandela and De Klerk), Rolanda Marais (Trackers, Wolwe Dans in die Skemer, Binnelanders, Out on a Limb), David Minaar (Torings, Fiela se Kind, Nag van die 19de, 7de Laan, Amalia) and Lida Botha (Invictus, Susters, Windprint, Pad na jou Hart, Die Boekklub, Hollywood in my Huis, Susters). Nomsa Nene, who played the title role to rave reviews in the international theatre production of Poppie, plays Poppie’s mother.
Poppie Nongena tells the story of a South African isiXhosa mother, whose life revolves around finding stability for her family when she is deemed by the law to be an illegal resident in her own country. It captures her struggle with the authorities for permission to stay, moving from house to house, applying for permits, applying for extensions, extensions of extensions, and using every means at her disposal to remain with her children.
Caught in the crossfire of her children’s needs, her husband’s illness, community anger and repressive laws, she is finally forced to surrender just as the 1976 riots for freedom erupt.
Award winning screenwriter and playwright Christiaan Olwagen directed the film with Vicci Turpin as the cinematographer. Olwagen’s previous work includes the critically acclaimed films, Johnny is nie dood nie, Die Seemeeu and Kanarie.
The film’s viewpoint is deeply personal. “Although it deals with a life of struggle, it is filled with humour, hope, tenderness and entertaining insights, which open a window on a time in history that we can all learn from” said producer Helena Spring. “Poppie’s deeply personal experiences, her profound love story with her husband, her love for her children and her formidable inner courage will inspire young and old, as she draws meaning and purpose from the most difficult moments of her life” she concluded. Spring recently committed to enable the film to make a difference to the plight of women. “I will be donating 10 % of the Producer’s profits from the film to organisations working to stop gender-based violence in South Africa,” she confirmed.
“The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena is a very important story that needs to be told. It took several years to develop the screenplay. The film won no less than fourteen awards at our recent KykNet Silwerkerm Film Festival, testimony to the quality of this production” said Karen Meiring, head of KykNET.
Poppie Nongena is made possible through the support of KykNET, M-Net, The Department of Trade and Industry, and Arco Venture Capital.
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