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Kalushi is a South African film based on the real life events of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, portrayed by Thabo Rametsi. This project took approximately nine years to complete and the hard work can be seen in the outstanding result.
Director Mandlakayise Walter Dube brings to life the story of Solomon Mahlangu who was born and raised in the township of Mamelodi. Mahlangu was a hawker who lived with his mother, Martha Mahlangu (Gcina Mhlophe), and brother, Lucas Mahlangu (Fumani Shilubana). The film follows Mahlangu from his humble beginnings as a hawker, to joining the liberation struggle and being trained by uMkhonto we Sizwe (the armed wing of the African National Congress).
The film offers an authentic view of the hardships that citizens underwent during the apartheid regime. The audience is exposed to the police brutality Mahlangu was subjected to as a hawker, as well as the heartless massacre of the June 16 protests. The film fails to evoke the intended emotional response, due to some scenes not living up to their full potential, and other confusing scenes. The one thing that stands out in this movie is the uncompromising use of the Nguni dialect. Viewers have to understand the language to truly grasp what is being said, as the subtitles are directly translated and do not reflect the true meaning of the words.
The film comes alive at the end and allows the viewer to feel like a bystander at the Joburg shootings, or an eyewitness to the murders of the two unintended victims. The final scenes of the movie are powerful and evoke a lot of strong emotions in the viewer as the director beautifully captures the gruesome atrocities. If you are interested in the context behind the struggle song “Iyho Solomon” then you should definitely watch this movie.