"Love Lives Here," filmed in KwaZulu-Natal and directed by Norman Maake, tells the story of Zinhle Malinga (Thabethe), a hard-working modern woman with strong traditional values who has been burnt by love. Luckily she has her two best girlfriends, Baphindile (Nomalanga Shozi) and Affiya (Nyokabi Angela Gethaiga) to cheer her up.
Throughout the heartache, Zinhle is still certain about what she deserves, believes she knows what kind of man she needs to be happy and is not willing to play games and waste time. She is ready to take the next step in her life and get married - and she thought she was heading in that direction after meeting Nkosinathi (Radu) - but their relationship quickly spirals downhill after Zinhle finds out they don’t share the same goal.
"The story is relatable to a lot of young people out there who are navigating their way through the maze that is finding love and marriage. The different kinds of relationships and situations explored in the movie really relate to the times we live in, and that’s what’s exciting about telling this story," said Thabethe.
Before going on set, Thabethe had a few sessions with an acting coach to help her get in touch with her softer side, as her previous characters were a lot more fierce than Zinhle.
She said she loved the fact that the story had strong female characters but wouldn’t want to watch the movie with her mother.
"These women are not damsels in distress. They want love and companionship, but that’s not the only thing they are about. They care about family and friendship and their careers. There are also a lot of saucy scenes so I wouldn’t watch this one with my mom," she said.
Thabethe considered filming in Durban the highlight of her experience.
"It was amazing. Shooting on location in Durban and taking in all the sights was awesome. I really got to know Durban and other parts of KZN that I wasn’t exposed to previously, which made me fall in love with the area," said Thabethe.
Asked about her first thoughts on the film, she said she felt the team got it right.
"We really brought the script to life. I think girls, guys, everyone should watch this one to kind of reflect on their love life, sex life, friendships and family. It’s a well-made film, with a fantastic cast and great storyline that we can all relate to in one way or another," she said.
Radu, who plays Zinhle’s love interest, Nkosinathi, a photographer who lives in uMlazi, said many people would be able to relate to the story.
Nkosinathi is caught between two worlds, the township lifestyle and the more suburban one.
“The topic of love is interrogated in a different way and the envelope is pushed. It’s risky and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s a not-to-be-missed rom-com that all South Africans can relate to. It’s funny, romantic and sexy, a perfect date night kind of movie or if you want to just kick it with your friend,” he said.
Radu said he enjoyed working with the cast, who gave it their all every day.
“We workshopped the script a number of times and worked on our on-screen chemistry with our fellow actors. Shooting in Durban also helped because we managed to have a real bond with each other. Working with my co-actors on this movie was awesome - everyone brought their A-game,” said Radu.