Nondumiso Tembe takes on the role of a feisty choreographer in her first romantic comedy, Zulu Wedding.
The film, set for release on February 23, has already racked up more than 3 000 views on YouTube days after its official trailer release.
The story is an unashamedly romantic, glamorous and hilariously loving tribute to the richness of African culture. It acknowledges the reality of many urban South Africans who live sophisticated, modern lives which are nonetheless shaped by their family cultures, traditions and expectations.
Tembe plays Lu “Lungile” and acts alongside Darrin Dewitt Henson, who plays Lu’s soulmate, Tex.
“Producer and director, Lineo Sekeleoane and I had been in talks for about five years - I felt an instant connection. Lu’s journey was so parallel to my life.
"Her journey to finding her identity, being someone with a huge, ambitious dream that required her to leave home to go pursue her purpose and develop her talent in another country, being someone who straddled two very different worlds, being someone who loved and embraced her heritage and where she comes from but also very much wanting to define herself on her own terms.
“She, like me, is someone who embodies the idea of 'where worlds collide', in every sense, she is like a bridge between the past, present and future,” said Tembe.
She said she was also excited to play a lighter character as she had finished working on a very dark and emotionally heavy military TV drama, titled Six.
“It was my first romcom - so the idea of working on something lighter, something more romantic and beautiful, really appealed to me,” Tembe said.
Tembe prepared for the role four months in advance in the ballet studio, making sure she paid conscious attention to her dancing.
“I trained very hard, with a lot of intention and consciousness, to prepare myself, as I knew I had to dance in the movie. I wanted to technically and physically be in good form, because it was important to me that Lu’s talent and passion as a dancer and choreographer be believable,” she said.
The storyline focuses on Lu trying everything and anything to not fall in love. Even more so to avoid going home to South Africa, where she’s traditionally engaged to a king. However, when she meets her soulmate Tex, she is forced to confront the tradition she’s been running away from since the death of her parents and the ancestral debt they left her. She hatches a plan to confront the King and convince him to forget about her, but when she prevails upon handsome royal adviser Zulu (Pallance Dladla), to help her get into the Royal Compound, he proves to be a dangerously seductive charmer.
Tex, his wise-cracking best friend, Nate (Carl Payne), Lou’s eccentric traffic officer sister, Mabo (Makgano Mambolo) and her tell-it-like-is alcoholic best friend, Sam (Bubu Mazibuko), set off to "the rurals" to rescue her while the shifty Uncle Phineas (Jerry Phele), his sexy wife Yvonne (Kelly Khumalo) and “The Basotho 10”, lead by TKZee Family’s Gwyza stay behind.
The stage is set for hilarity, hi-jinks and heartbreak in this modern day playful, escapist experience.
“I think people who come out to watch the film are going to enjoy seeing modern Africans portrayed with all the rich complexity and depth of who we really are, which we just don’t get to see on screen enough. It’s also such a fun, glamorous, romantic, aesthetically beautiful film, which I think will really captivate and entertain the audience,” said Tembe.