Vaya concerns true stories of people living on the margins in Johannesburg.

The South African film industry has been bursting at the seams as of late, producing award winning movies that have gone on to be screened at some of the biggest film festivals in the world.

Local productions are also filling up our cinemas and are taking the term “critically acclaimed” to a new level. 2017 was a great year for local flicks, here is our list of the top 5 movies proudly made in South Africa:


The brainchild of award winning director, Akin Omotoso, Vaya tells three separate stories of three passengers travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg. The movie is based on the true stories of writers in the Homeless Writers Project, a writing workshop for people living on the streets of Johannesburg. 

People have always been drawn to this big city and many move to the city of gold for a better life, however many lose themselves, and this movie is about the challenge of not losing yourself. The movie stars Warren Masemola, Zimkhitha Nyoka and Sihle Xaba. It was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Inxeba - The Wound

This local production was winning awards even before it debuted locally. Described as a milestone in South African cinema and ‘a potent drama of sexual identity and divided loyalty’ by the New York Times, Inexba tells the story of Xolani (played by Nakhane Toure), a lonely factory worker, who travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. 

When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best-kept secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel. Although the movie received backlash, particularly from the Xhosa community, it has gone on to win a number of awards. It was screened at the Mebourne Film Festival, and both the Sydney and Taipei Film Festivals where it won the audience award for best feature.


Based on historical facts that uncover a painful past of South Africa, this critically acclaimed movie was a highlight of the industry this year. It tells the story of Krotao, a feisty, bright, young 11 year old girl who is removed from her close-knit Khoi tribe to serve Jan van Riebeeck, her uncle's trading partner. She is brought into the first Fort established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652. 

There she grows into a visionary young woman who assimilates the Dutch language and culture so well that she rises to become an influential interpreter for van Riebeeck. Krotoa ends up being rejected by her own Khoi people and destroyed by the Dutch when she tries to find the middle way between the two cultures. It stars Crystal-Donna Roberts as Krotao and won the best film award at the Harlem International Film Festival.

Keeping Up With the Kandasamys

Within the first two weeks of this movies release is racked in a whopping R4 million. Set in the heart of Durban, this rom-com is about a long standing rivalry between two families, the Naidoos and the Kandasamys, who are also neighbours. When their adult children fall in love with each other, the families are forced to work together to break things off with their children. However their plan does not work and they soon settle their differences. 

The film stars Jailoshni Naidoo, Maeshni Naicker and new kid on the block, Mishqah Parthiephal.

Five Fingers for Marseilles

Set in Apartheid South Africa, the community of Railway, which is attached to the remote town of Marseilles, are the victims of brutal police oppression and only the young Five Fingers are willing to stand up to them. Their battle is heartfelt but innocent, until hot-headed Tau (played by Vuyo Dabula) kills two policemen in an act of passion. He flees, leaving his brothers and friends behind, but his action has triggered a conflict that will leave both Marseilles and the Five Fingers changed. 

Twenty years later, Tau is released from prison, and a new war begins after he uncovers new truths about his home. The movie also stars Hamilton Dhlamini and Kenneth Nkosi.