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AYANDA (2015) - Film Africa
Saturday 31 October 2015, by
I almost didn’t watch Ayanda as the synopsis described the title character as an Afro-hipster. Did that really need a racial qualifier in South Africa? Why is the racial default for hipsters white? Things will never change if we keep normalising whiteness. Nevertheless, I’m glad I moved past it as the film has something to say about family and the agency to dream.
The adage ’it takes money to make money’ is clearly illustrated in Ayanda’s bid to save her father’s car shop from being sold, her brother’s attempt to have a legitimate business and her Uncle Zama’s need to get out of some mysterious ’trouble’. But what comes across even more clearly is how their dreams, although seemingly rooted in similar ambitions, take them to very different places. Then there is Ayanda’s mother, Dorothy, who somehow lost her ability to dream. Then, as each one achieves varying levels of success, they are willing to make different sacrifices to live the dream.
The film is stunning; each scene is a work of art. I didn’t quite get the purpose of the documentarian character who opens the film, and moves throughout, by photographing various locals with a voice over about a ’changing Africa’; it was needlessly ambitious (a Johannesburg-based young person wanting to speak for a continent?). Besides, the film showed this through the characters; the reiteration was unnecessary. However the interspersed photos almost make up for this. Combined with the pacing of the film that drew me in immediately into Ayanda’s creative world, which was made possible because of her belief in the beautifully impossible, the film turned out to be an opportunity for representing a seldom seen South Africa.
Dir. Sara Blecher, 2015
Ayanda is on 31 October 2015 at the Hackney Picturehouse as part of Film Africa.
Trailer and tickets here.