Stoan Seate
The life and times of Ontlametse Phalatse will be told in detail in the upcoming documentary film My Attractive Life, which the 18-year-old worked on before she died in April.

It will be released next month.

Phalatse, who was said to be the only black person to suffer from a rare diseases called progeria, which causes premature ageing, will reveal how she journeyed through life and what her thoughts were of herself and her disease.

“In this tale, you get personal with her story and that’s what makes it unique,” says director Keabetswe Mokoena.

“Ontlametse has always been documented as a black progerian girl, who can speak English and live a normal life, but now the film aims to go deeper into who this young lady really was,” she adds.

The passing of Phalatse, who also lived her life in the public eye as a motivational speaker and an inspiration to many, forced the creative team to develop new ways of capturing her story without compromising the quality of the film and also keeping true to who she was.

“Because it is a doccie film, there will not be any re-enactments. The angle had to change (a little) because Ontlametse was no longer around to tell her tale. So we thought of telling it in a master class format.”

This master class, according to Mokoena, is a process of imparting knowledge of a specific industry to a group of people.

“In this case, the masters are the people we interviewed, being the family and her friends, and our class is the audience.”

The title My Attractive Life was based on how Phalatse viewed her influential stance in society and also the various people she had attracted during her life.

“And I also think it was derived from a spiritual level.

“From a thought of accepting the journey of being the only black progerian lady, thus making her 18 years on earth meaningful,” says Mokoena.

The aim of the film is to record history. “As South Africans, we don’t (normally) document a lot of our stories and I saw this as a calling to tell a great story of this unique lady.

“There are many stories that we don’t document and it’s sad. We have great people gracing us in this lifetime and if we don’t give them a chance to tell their story and be part of it, we are losing as the nation.

“I would like to see my seven-year-old, in the future, learning about Ontlametse,” says Mokoena.

She also emphasises that this project, which commenced early in January, is not a mere 24-minute profile but a detailed film of her life.

“Ontlametse was brave. She was so brave beyond and you get to understand why she would accept the life of a progerian child,” she says.

Accompanying the documentary will be a unique soundtrack recorded by some of South Africa’s noteworthy musicians, such as Stoan Seate and Tshedi Mholo of Malaika fame.

Speaking to Stoan about the recording of the track to the documentary, he describes the process as bitter-sweet.

“The filming process was started while she was still alive and I would have loved for her to hear the finished product,” says Stoan.

“She stands out as a true hero of our people, old and young, and I am extremely proud to honour her in the best way I know how.”

Stoan, who has played a huge role in the music industry, says the message the song carries is that of self-belief, and speaks to the values that Phalatse lived by.

“Courage, honesty, love, faith and sincerity.

“This movie is not an ‘ag shame’ movie. I think the producer/director has done a great job in representing that sentiment.

“The process has been handled with the sensitivity and respect it deserves.

“I believe it will add to the legacy and legend of this giant of our generation,” he says.

Phalatse died in April this year after going to pick a tailor-made outfit she was planning to wear to President Jacob Zuma’s 75th birthday party in Kliptown.

The actual date of the documentary’s release is yet to be communicated.

Sunday Independent