Submitted by:  Julie Hall

On Sunday the 23rd of February, local film ZULU WEDDING was announced as the Best Narrative Feature Film at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles. Every year PAFF-LA showcases over one hundred and fifty (150) quality new films and over one hundred (100) fine artists and unique craft persons from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, Europe, the South Pacific and Canada, all showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent. PAFF has premiered and hosted special screenings of top black films including Black Panther and Think Like a Man.

It was a proud moment for creator/producer/director Lineo Sekeloane, who has been on an epic eleven-year journey to bring her film to the screen. This romantic-comedy is a glossy, glamorous and funny fairy tale about love, identity, and culture. When you see the beautiful visuals up on the screen, it’s hard to imagine the challenges behind the scenes. It’s extremely difficult to get a film made in South Africa. Although there is a valuable support for local film from government, through the film commissions, the grants are small and most of the finance has to be raised from additional sources. Not always easy when you are a first time director who also happens to be young and black. Lineo was told a few times that she should not direct her own film.

However, passion and persistence are personified in this dynamic young woman, who took on the enormous dual roles of producing and directing while she was pregnant with her first child. As some of the financing fell through during filming, she was also fund-raising at the same time. It took a further few years to get the film to screen, with many challenges and setbacks along the way. The release date had to be moved out, disappointing many who were waiting for the film to come out. The film also received tremendous support from some of South Africa’s most notable business entities, once again reiterating what a big difference corporate involvement can make in the local film industry.

It took huge courage for Lineo to make those tough decisions, but she stood her ground, refusing to release the film until the post-production was of the high standard she demanded, with a stellar soundtrack featuring top SA artists.  Although there were times she almost gave up, Lineo was also supported by many people who believed in her talent and vision. What really saved the day was when South African businesses got behind the film as sponsors and provided the final funding needed to complete the film.  

Zulu Wedding showcases much of the positives of South African life, with a stellar cast of both local and international stars, an amazing soundtrack featuring top SA music talent, incredible paintings from artist Loyiso Mkize, and with a loving, though often humorous take on our cultural mix. The critically-acclaimed film opened in cinemas on 11 October 2019 and continues to be touted as one of the best local productions to date.   A book that was penned by a popular local author and which is based on the story of the film was also released and went to #1 at Exclusive Books.

Thanks to Lineo, her incredible team, and the global audience who recognised their talents we have one more reason to stay in our beautiful country.