‘Man On Ground’, a bold and exacting portrayal of rising xenophobia in South Africa has been selected to have its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) slated for September 8-18. The film will be showcased in the Contemporary World Cinema category and will screen on the 12th, 13th and 17th of September.
‘Man On Ground’ tells the story of a young Nigerian man living in the African refugee tenements of Johannesburg who disappears against the backdrop of animosity against immigrants flaring into violent rioting. In the span of a single night, his brother, on a short visit from London, tries to elucidate the mystery.
Ade is a naturalized citizen of the UK. During a trip to South Africa with his wife Nadia (Mandisa Bardill), he is tasked by his mother with delivering a package to his half-brother Femi . Ade who has always lived in the shadow of his brother reluctantly agrees. On arrival in South Africa, Ade discovers that his brother has gone missing. With the help of Zodwa , Femi’s fiancée, Ade embarks on a search that sees him slowly peel away at his estranged brother’s life.
Against Zodwa’s advice, Femi had returned to the informal settlement ravaged by a wave of xenophobic violence and civil unrest a week earlier in search of work. In his efforts to find his brother Ade enlists the help of Femi’s employer, Timothi , a man with his own problems. His wife Lindiwe has been acting strange since Femi disappeared, and the township hothead Vusi has been seen wielding his gun around. The last thing Timothi needs is Ade’s questions. As another riot erupts Ade is forced to take shelter with Timothi and the journey of the night will reveal the truth of what happened to Femi and force Ade to deal with his complex relationship with his brother.
‘Man On Ground’ star and co-producer, Fabian Adeoye Lojede is excited about the world premiere at TIFF and comments: “We feel great and I speak for myself and my co-producers Akin Omotoso and Hakeem Kae Kazim. We hope that by getting this film to TIFF we can get the world to look at African films from a more positive and respectful light. One movie will not do this but if more of our African movies are given this chance, it will impact on more African film makers to up their game to tell Afrocentric stories that can travel.”
“We need to find those stories that are African and universal, African musicians have done it, they have found a musical voice and tone that is African yet global, from 2face to Tic Tac etc. If we want to appeal to a greater market then some things need to give, but at the same time we must find a look that is ours, the South Americans have done, so can we,” he adds.
‘Man On Ground’ will hopefully hit African cinemas early next year. It also made it into the Dubai Festival slated for December. It is directed by Akin Omotoso and stars Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Fana Mokoena, Makhoala Ndebele, Thisiwe Ziqubu, Bubu Mazibuko, Mandisa Bardill, James Ngcobo, Jet Novuka, and Eugene Khoza