South Africa’s next Oscars entry revealed

23 September 2015

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has named the indie drama Thina Sobabili (The Two of Us) as South Africa’s entry into the 88th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The announcement came on Monday, 21 September.

The movie, from first-time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi, is set in Joburg’s northeastern township of Alexandra. Its gritty plot follows the story of two siblings, Zanele and Thulani, who try to escape tragedy and poverty, and build a life together.

But things are not easy for them. Along the way, Zanele starts an affair with an older “sugar daddy” and it strains her relationship with her overprotective brother, Thulani, who is also her guardian.

Watch the trailer here:

The movie has an all local cast. Emmanuel Nkosinathi Gweva played Thulani and Busisiwe Mtshali took the role of Zanele.

Previous accolades

The movie has already made an impression. It won the Audience Choice awards at two film festivals: the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the 2015 Jozi Film Festival.

It was also named Best Feature Film at the 2015 Rwanda Film Festival and made the cut for a screening at the 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival, taking place in New York City from 23 to 27 September.

“It also enjoyed some success at the local box office, coming in at eighth position at the South African box office on the weekend of its theatrical release in July – the only independent film to make the top 10,” said the Gauteng Film Commission.

The Oscars

If Thina Sobabili does get the nomination nod, it’ll join the ranks of other South African entries Yesterday, which was nominated in 2004, and the 2006 Oscar winner, Tsotsi.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will only announce the nominations for the 2016 Oscars on 14 January. The awards ceremony will take place on 28 February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

SAinfo reporter