Film Review: Rise

Xolile Tshabalala as Fezeka Dlamini in a scene from Rise, image source –

This is a tale about an idealist educator who arrives at a very low morale school in Alexander and takes it upon herself to try and change the attitude of the learners. I couldn’t help but think back to the early nineties when I underwent my high schooling years and wondered how our teachers made it without wifi hotspots and such, although we did have a laboratory which was utilized fully, but the internet was a myth of sci-fi proportions and our educators oozed with gusto and love for their calling. Fezeka Dlamini(Xolile Tshabalala), an orphan, is a university graduate with a science degree, actually an arsenal of them as we learn later. Her altruistic deeds pushes her to opt to give back the learners of the school she is posted to since she herself was fortunate to be given the opportunities she’s had

At this school she is confronted by pupils who are not given time by the teachers. As a result the learners think less of themselves. This can be seen in the characters of Gazi (Siphamandla Walter Dhludhu), a child family header, Andile (Nkokheli Oros Mmampofu) whose wants him to leave school to do manual labour and Palesa (Mapula Mafole) who comes from an unstable single mother headed family. There is also a bureaucracy red tape that hamper teaching and a corrupt principal (Mutodi Neshehe) who has been siphoning money from the school’s feeding scheme for his own financial gain

This is a film about bringing hope to a desolate people left to their own devises by the system erected to help them rise above the peril. As a drama the film holds its ground by driving the point across that the children who drop out of school are not necessarily driven to that point because it is inevitable. They are pushed to that point by the very people who are central to the operation of the machine – the educators themselves. In the end although having to navigate the treacherous road of winning allies in learners as well as educators – Fezeka’s good deeds rub off on those that surrounds her starting with the caretaker. This Original Mzansi Magic Movie/film premiered on 11 January at 09:00 you can catch the second screening tonight at 22:00 on Mzansi Magic DStv Channel 161.

We thought it was a fine take, though not robust enough on tackling one of the thorniest issues of our time – what is wrong with our society from our educational system perspective. We give it a fine 4Def’Points out of 5, it is a brave outing none the less


16 January

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2015

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