There is clearly nothing remarkable about the plot of Ingoma, the new Mzansi Magic’s (DStv Channel 161) Original Film which premiered on 1 February. However it is the musical originality in treatment of its plot, as a performance text, in the hands of talented lead actors that foregrounds its nuanced message. Ingoma is a story about a talented young woman, Constance Dladla (Zola Nombona) an ardent Uhadi – a musical bow – player, who wants to break it into the music industry by auditioning for a lead backing Vocalist gig for an established musician. Raised by her single father Reverend Dladla (Timmy Kwebulana), following her mother’s passing, she has to perform house chores first before she ventures into the world.¶
Knowing that her conservative father would not approve she sneaks out to an audition to back an established musician, Vusi Zondi (Aubrey Poo). She almost does not make it, however thanks to her loyal supporting friend Zoleka(Kungeka Mose) who stood in the line in her stead. She brings the rear of the audition line then and secures a spot. However her father is against it and he chases Vusi away. Instantly Lured by the prospect of making it in the music industry Constance runs away to Woodstock for preparations of a series of performances lined up for Vusi Zondi’s crew. Her father resolves to disown her after realizing she had defied his wishes.¶
It is at this point in the narrative that we get a glimpse of the vulnerability of women at the mercy of an established musician within the music industry. This is personified by the character of Vusi’s cruelty towards Lunko the second choice lead singer following Constance father’s refusal to let her join the music outfit, the character is played by Poseletso Sejosingoe. Initially as she settles in Constance is a shy and an innocent young woman who is helped by the other members of the outfit, the vocalists and dancers Musha (Schelaine Bennet) and Tumi (Ziyanda Yako) to break out of the mould of stiffness as far as music performance is concerned. When she does break out of the stiff mould she blossoms. She adopts the moniker Conny D through Vusi’s insistence in order that she becomes more appealing with the fans. Fame and glory gets to her head blinding her to see things as they are; including the man who truly loves her, Zwi (Anelisa Phewa), who plays the guitar in the outfit but would later leave the group as he realizes the kind of a man Vusi is. Vusi Zondi’s insatiable lust gets the better of him and he rapes Connie D, Destroying whatever trust she had placed in him. She flees with little money she has. Desperation sets in, she can’t even afford to be there for her friend Zoleka when she falls pregnant and seeks help from her. She soon realizes that Vusi is relentless in keeping her under his control as he claims in one scene – ‘I have made you’.
The central element that threads throughout the film and holds it together is a recorded song sung to Constance by her mother before she died. What is interesting is that when Connie D leaves the commune where she lived with Zwi the tape cassette broke as the two of them argued as Zwi tried to Tell her about the kind of man Vusi is. Zwi meticulously repairs the tape and transfer its contents into a compact disk which he subsequently inserted into Conny D’s luggage before Vusi came to fetch it.
It is this song that gives Conny D the courage to fight back for her life when she hears the song again. The shootout takes place wherein Conny D interrupts her live performance with Vusi through the help of Zwi, by reasserting her true identity and lashing out lyrically at Vusi for his abusive and suppressive behavior. This is done in front of the fans who boo Vusi as Conny D her birth given name Constance Dladla as well as her freedom and walks away with Zwi. Ingoma, lives up to its name, it is a musical. Its a ballad and besides oozing with pure talent witnessed through the original musical performances prepared specifically for the story which the actors actually performs, it overhauls a staple diet plot! It’s brave, believable and a surprisingly witty as it takes on the music industry’s darker side with a triumphant hope topping. It gets 5dEF Points out of Five: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦¶
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2015