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Botlhale Boikanyo stars alongside acting legends in local Youth Month film

Botlhale Boikanyo at the ‘The Deal’ premiere held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. Picture: Supplied

Botlhale Boikanyo at the ‘The Deal’ premiere held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 21, 2022

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The dream to go to University is something many South African youth aspire to, but the dream is not easily attainable for many.

The financial difficulties of going to university is something a lot of youth are facing.

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Every year during the registration period we see numerous posts on social media of young people asking for assistance towards their registration fees, just to be able to enrol in university.

This Youth Month, the film “The Deal” takes a look at this common struggle that many of the Youth of 2022 face, and shows just how layered the problem is.

Following the life of 18-year-old Thandeka, played by renowned poet and actress Botlhale Boikanyo, “The Deal” tackles a mixed bag of societal issues.

There’s gender-based violence, trans-generational transactional relationships, access to education, dementia and mental health, as well as absent fathers.

A scene from ‘The Deal’ between actors Botlhale Boikanyo and Matli Mohapeloa. Picture: Supplied

The film was launched just two days before South Africa commemorated the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, and is director Paul Modjadji’s ode to the country.

“I made this film as an ode to South Africa, because even though we are a nation inflicted with many challenges, we never shy away from owning and speaking out about our ills. We never sweep things under the rug,” said Modjadji at the premiere held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton.

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Internationally acclaimed choreographer Paul Modjadji at the ‘The Deal’ premiere held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. Picture: Supplied

During a sit down with the cast and crew, hosted by Brand South Africa’s chief marketing officer Thoko Modise, Boikanyo remarked about her character’s strength from a young age.

The character has had some quick growing up due to the cards life has dealt her and now in order to go to university, she has had to make a tough choice – lie in the sheets with an older man.

“I am so sad and yet so hopeful to see films about girls such as Thandeka being told in this light. A lot of the times we judge young girls and women, and never look beyond the circumstances that push them to make such brave and hard calls,” said Boikanyo.

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The character, while chasing her dream to go to university, is also helping take care of her grandmother who has dementia.

Her grandmother is portrayed by legendary actress Abigail Kubeka, who prior to filming the movie was unaware that dementia was an illness, and praised the filmmakers for educating her about it.

Actress Abigail Kubeka at the ‘The Deal’ premiere at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. Picture: Supplied

“It pains me deeply that I have lived on this Earth for 82 years, and only when I landed this role at the age of 81-years old, did I learn that dementia was an illness and not a normal path of ageing,” Kubeka said during the sit down.

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“I am so relieved and overjoyed to know this information and I pray that God gives me enough strength to live long enough to educate as many as possible about this illness,” she added.

“The Deal” goes on to explore how sometimes people are coerced into doing something, as a means to an end.

The film also stars Matli Mohapeloa, Dr Jerry Mofokeng wa Makgetha, Aubrey Poo and Lesedi Masheane.

The film also stars world acclaimed poet, actress, theatre director and founder of Her Story International Women’s Theatre festival, Napo Masheane, who plays the character of Thandeka’s mother, who has also faced her share of hardships.

Actress Napo Masheane at the ‘The Deal’ premiere at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton. Picture: Supplied

“The Deal” will be available for streaming on Showmax, during South Africa’s Women’s Month in August.

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