Petronella Tshuma, the star of the Durban International Film Festival's opening film, The Tokoloshe, debuted her baby bump at the opening ceremony in Durban, on Thursday.
Wearing a Xhosa umbhaco inspired garment by Urban Zulu, she looked glowing on the red carpet ahead of the premiere of her latest movie.
“Yes, I am soon going to be a mother of two,” the Rhythm City actress said on the red carpet.
She’s in her prime as one of the leading young actresses in South Africa. However, The Tokoloshe is her first leading role and she was handpicked for it.
"I didn’t audition for the role," she revealed. "I was in England when I got the call from Jerome and the producers (Cati and Dumi) that they wanted me to play Busi. Their decision was informed by my past works.”
The Tokoloshe is Tshuma’s second film to be chosen to open the DIFF. The first was 2013’s Of Good Report which was controversially not allowed to be screened by the Film and Publications Board. Directed by Jerome Pikwane, the horror-thriller is the second genre film to open the festival, after last year’s Serpent by Amanda Evans.
In The Tokoloshe, Tshuma plays Busisiwe, a destitute woman who gets a job as a cleaner at a neglected hospital in Joburg.
She not only has to deal with the dodgy hospital manager, but also discovers an abandoned girl who believes she’s tormented by a supernatural force. Busi must face demons from her past in order to save the child from the abusive monster that pursues them relentlessly.
Tshuma thinks it’s a step in the right direction, telling stories inspired by African myths and folklore.
“South Africans are more than ready. And especially this story; it hits home. And that’s where our hearts are. We need to be telling more. Let’s tell stories for our people and for ourselves.”
When asked if she regards herself as a leading lady, she is not certain whether she is or not. “I have actually never thought of this, and no one has ever asked me about it. I think I’m on my way to being a leading lady. I’ve always played the supporting lead, but I have always wanted to play a leading role. Do I consider myself one? Not yet.”
“It comes with a lot of pressure to deliver. Can I carry the film? The story told in the film? Can I take the audience on a journey? I’m nervous on what the reaction will be about this film, and I know I will beat myself about my performance. Knowing I had to carry this story in its entire truth is scary, and yet so amazing! I really hope that it’s received well, and it does cement me as a leading lady.”
The 39th Durban International Film Festival is taking place at various venues in Durban and will end on Sunday, July 28. The Tokoloshe will be released on the big screen on November 2, 2018.