In the 1950s,
the South African government tracks down and arrests a black rebel hero. -
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
Jahmil X.T Qubeka, much like A Quiet Place directs the story of John
Kepe with little to no dialogue. A white, liberal journalist recounts and takes
us through the chase and trial of the “Native Robinhood” and black liberal hero
of the 1950’s John Kepe, who was a threat to the colonial farming community.
X.T Qubeka portrays the chase and trial of John Kepe, popularly known as the
Samson of the Boschberg, according to Screen Africa. The narrative and
choice of events captivates and thrills the viewer for the majority of the
SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:
John Kepe was an infamous thief in the Eastern Cape in the
1950s. The criminal mastermind lived, undetected, in the Boschberg caves for
over a decade, collecting stolen items including over a hundred sheep, cooking
utensils and clothes, redistributing the goods to the poor black and coloured
community of Somerset East. Kepe’s legacy still haunts the slopes of the
The film starring Zolisa Xaluva, Brenda Ngxoli, Mandisa Nduna,
Bongile Mantsai as well as Ezra Mabengeza who plays John Kepe carried the
entire film solely on their wordless performances. Shooting and directing a
film without dialogue is an interesting way to fully experience and watch an
actor or actress' true talent. Everything boils down to gestures, facial
expressions as well as emotions.
the other hand, Sew The Winter To My Skin vaguely covered some incidents John
Kepe was involved in, leaving the film to almost feel incomplete or not as
fulfilling as it could have been. The film having no dialogue adding onto the
feeling of “could’ve”, we could’ve learned more about John Kepe, could have
understood his unfortunate relations with the colonial government of the 1950s.
Could have heard his side of the story. Someone described the film’s visual
aesthetic as strong but felt Sew the Winter to my Skin never felt as impactful
as the man whose myth it is telling.
said that, the film's aesthetics are impeccable. It is a well shot film that
covers and portrays Somerset East and the rest of the Eastern Cape in a
colourful and vast manner. The wardrobe, sets, color and actors were carefully
chosen and curated. It is clear that much work went into even the finest
details in each scene. Without dialogue, Qubeka still managed to fill a scene
with thrill and managed to captivate the viewer until the end through music,
tone as well as Ezra Mabengeza’s highly physical and expressive performance.
scene is carefully framed and colored to match the color scheme, tone and pace
of the entire film delivering captivating moments each time.
Sew The Winter To My Skin is a must watch and great representation of the
growing film industry in South Africa.