The opening scene of Matwetwe, now streaming on Showmax, weaves you into a kasi story or street-corner-like living that is nuanced within the black Pretoria experience. We are then introduced to three kasi dwellers, who reminisce about the various township characters that exist in their hood and the diversity of township living while enjoying a cold beer.
Matwetwe is a bold representation of township life in South Africa – it delves deep into the complexities of growing up in such settlements with the constant looming uncertainty of the future caused by an increasing rise in unemployment, crime and expensive tertiary education.
The title means “wizard”, a slang word for the type of weed that is sold in the townships, which is highly sought after. Throughout the film the weed is used to pull off a huge deal and dodge a kingpin gangster. And in the midst of all the chaos, two friends have to save a girl and their own lives in this hilarious escapade.
The three kasi dwellers begin to tell us the story of Lefa and Papi, two best friends who embark on a very exciting yet dangerous hustling venture.
The storyline spans into an action-packed experience that begins on New Year’s Eve as Lefa and Papi begin their hustle of selling weed as a means to make money for Lefa’s enrolment fee at Wits University.
To sell or not to sell
After the two get hold of the stash of weed, they plan to move it as quickly as possible and make a lot of money. A thug from the neighbourhood (played by Otto Nobela) makes them an offer and just before the desperate Lefa takes it, Papi, who’s very street-smart, refuses the offer. This then leads to their hilarious adventure.
The ideal client
The best friends then move up the ranks and secure a white client in the ‘burbs who is willing to pay a fortune for the stash. They close a deal but Meisie (Mimi Mamabolo) rats them out to the thug, and the whole thing falls apart.
Their weed is gone, thousands of Rands worth of it, and they have to fight to get it back.
Matwetwe: the sequel?
There’s an interesting cliffhanger at the end of the movie, which has us wondering if there will be a sequel to this movie, despite the untimely passing of the actor who plays Lefa, Sibusiso Khwinana.
Matwetwe is currently streaming on Showmax.
What is Showmax? It’s an internet TV service featuring hit African content, international series, kids’ shows, and live sport. Stream or download on the Showmax app for smartphones and tablets. Sign up for a 14-day free trial at showmax.com.