Asinamali (2017) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Adapted from Mbongeni Ngema's Broadway production of "Asinamali". On the prison yard on Robben Island, a man named Nelson Mandela told Msizi Dube "Go and do it for all of us, for all our people. So one day we may join you in a free South Africa." After Msizi Dube was released residents of Lamontville Township, with anger and passion in their hearts, demonstrated against proposed rent increases, and led the crowds with a cry of ASINAMALI - We have no money. Dube was later gunned down but his cause and mission had touched the hearts of millions who still believe and follow in what he said. Our story takes place, ten years later in a prison, where a group of inmates are asked to create and perform a stage play for the governor and his associates for a celebration at the prison. These seven inmates, crammed together in a small cell, use their free time at night, after a hard days work, creating the stage play as a way of escaping the reality of where they are.

  • Music Set Them Free Asinamali is a powerful prison musical film from the internationally renowned South African playwright and theatre-maker, Mbongeni Ngema. Based on the play of the same name, "Asinamali" is Ngema's first film and it is a testament to his artistic genius. His storytelling style combines elements of African culture with those of Magic Realism, the West and modernity. The film features an original soundtrack by Ngema, which draws on his Zulu heritage, his experience in A Capella arrangements for theatre, and 5 decades of composing across eclectic musical styles. "Asinamali" is produced by the same creative partnership of Mbongeni Ngema and Darrell Roodt that brought us the globally successful film, "Sarafina!" This time Ngema is directing and Roodt producing, while the film features an all South African cast performing a 60% Zulu language script.


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