Movie Spotlight: Phindile’s Heart

Synopsis: When the Cholera epidemic is wreaking havoc in the poor village in Mpumalanga, and claiming the lives of the young and old, Handle (Khensani Khoza), a 10-year-old girl,  gets a close encounter with the disease when both her mother and younger brother are affected by it. Losing all hope, she resorted to offering her ‘heart‘in exchange for her family’s lives.

Desolately Short opinion: Phindile’s heart is a short edutainment film, with a well-chosen filming location. The greenery mountains were perfectly captured – which is one of the few pleasant things about this film. The focus is rather placed on the educational side of the film than it being purely entertaining.

Desolately Long opinion:

The film was released when the South African film industry was breaking away from the redundant apartheid theme and offering viewers a variety of storytelling options. Phindile’s Heart is a cinematic storytelling about cholera and as most short films, it leaves the viewer pondering. Even though is a sombre and sobering film, Phindile’s robust personality is a flickering of light. She’s an inquisitive and outgoing young girl, and a Miss Smartypants to boot. You can’t help but let your heart be taken by her, as she manages to convince a doctor who has given up practising medicine after she couldn’t save her own child. Five minutes into the film, you realise that the aim of the film is to drive awareness to the crippling disease that has a stronghold in the rural parts of South Africa and the poor health service offered to the residents in those areas. It’s a compelling drama, but definitely not feel-good escapism.

What the critic had to say:

They were clearly pleased, as Phindile’s Heart managed to win awards such as Mpumalanga Short Film Festival awards for Best Director and Best Newcomer Actress went to Khensani Khoza
(Phindile), which we believe she deserved.

What we liked in particular

  • The film visuals were spectacular.
  • The bond between Phindile and her youngster was not only believable but touching.

What we didn’t like so much

  • Some of the scenes were confusing, Phindile ran in the rain and fell into the mud, but was wearing the same dress, which was clean and dry, early the next morning. How?
  • The whole ‘white saviour to the rescue’ bit was cliché

What we could have liked

  • If there was an equal balance of isiZulu and English to make it more realistic since it’s based on the rural and poor community.
  • They could have expanded that scene where Phindile had no choice but to use the contaminated water and showed how she used it, in order to drive the point home.

Some interesting facts about Phindile’s Heart:

  • The story is based on a true event. There was a cholera outbreak in the village of Elanzini, Mpumalanga.
  • South Africa experienced the worst cholera outbreak in the new millennium.
  • Cholera is mostly endemic to African countries.
  • Khensani Khoza is a commercial advertising sensation as she has appeared on numerous ads including Kellogg’s, Dettol and Omo.

Is the movie worth the watch?

It’s a country duty to watch it. The film won a TAWA (The African audio and visual) award for the most outstanding film, so it deserves your 30 minutes.

Tsholofelo Mabona

Tsholofelo Mabona

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Couple quick ground rules: Please, don't jump off the bus. Weird. Not fun for anybody. Also, no throwing objects at pedestrians. Unless, of course, they deserve it, okay?
Tsholofelo Mabona

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Couple quick ground rules: Please, don’t jump off the bus. Weird. Not fun for anybody. Also, no throwing objects at pedestrians. Unless, of course, they deserve it, okay?