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Xhosa film wins prestigious Golden Bear award

Published Feb 21, 2005

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The cast of uCarmen eKhayelitsha, which won a Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival, greeted the news with surprise and excitement.

Based on Bizet's tragic opera, uCarmen is set in Khayelitsha and sung in Xhosa.

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Andiswa Kedema, assistant director who translated the opera with lead actress Pauline Malefane, said the movie would give young people the confidence to follow their dreams.

Kedema said when they were told the movie would be shot entirely in Xhosa, it sounded like a great challenge.

"It fills me with pride that we were able to do it in our mother tongue," said Kedema.

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"It feels like a dream."

Ntobeko Rwanqa, who portrays playboy Sergeant Mongezi, said when the cast started shooting the movie they didn't think it would go all the way to the top in Berlin.

"It was like an experiment when we started out and it came out good," said Rwanqa.

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Andries Mbali, who plays the role of Bra Nkomo, said uCarmen was his first experience in front of the camera.

"It was a challenge but it felt amazing, it felt as if we were a part of history in the making," he said from Dimpo di Kopane, the production company's offices in Stellenbosch.

Minister of arts and culture Pallo Jordan said the film had done South Africa proud and that it was made in Xhosa was yet another milestone in language equity, following soon after the success of Yesterday, which was made in Zulu.

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