In time for Heritage Day, Umakoti Wethu is now available for viewing on Showmax. A Venda woman struggling to conceive is forced into crisis when her Zulu husband’s new job relocates them to KwaZulu-Natal, where he encounters his overbearing mother and old flame.
Isibaya SAFTA nominee Melusi Mbele plays her husband Sizwe, while rising star Kwanele Mthethwa plays Nobuhle, the woman caught in the middle of this love triangle. Duduzile Ngcobo appears in Durban Gen, eHostela, Uzalo, and the role of Khathu, who is the disapproving mother-in-law.
Fulu, who has been in films ranging from Ayanda to Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word, One Night Kwa Mxolisi to Seriously Single, Ring of Lies to Still Breathing, believes Umakoti Wethu is about family concerns.
“The story revolves around a couple undergoing a transformation in their relationship. The couple wants to grow their family in every way, but there are challenges along the way.”
Fulu said she is thrilled to speak in her own language in front of the camera.
The actor said it’s wonderful to have a minority language represented on a larger scale, and to be represented on a larger scale.
“Umakoti Wethu is a beautiful component of the isiZulu culture, and gives voice to those who may not always be heard within that tradition,” says Moeketsi Moeketsi, executive producer of Beyond Black Productions.
Kwanele hopes Umakoti Wethu will increase understanding of what queer people endure “almost every day of their lives.”
Nobuhle is described as “a young lady who comes from a well-respected family”. Growing up, she faced tremendous pressure to complete each task and become perfect. It turns out Nobuhle is lesbian, but she lacks the courage to act upon it. In her community, homosexuality is considered taboo, and not easy to come out.”
Fulu says South African audiences will recognize the family dynamics in Umakoti Wethu.
“Everyone knows someone who has experienced family rejection,” said Fulu.
Umakoti Wethu marks Nozipho Nkelemba’s feature film directing debut after directing Gomora and writing Emoyeni. He appears in The Forgotten Kingdom, directed Gomora, and wrote Emoyeni. Chris Mashile is one of the co-directors and executive producers of the film. In addition to Moeketsi and Christopher, Beyond Black Productions’ writer Nandisa Mkhize is also a MultiChoice Talent Factory graduate.
Fulu admires Khathu’s character and ability to make arrangements for the unexpected in her life, and her adaptability… “That’s a crucial skill because what you write down as a five-or ten-year plan will change for the better.”
“I also respect her for having the courage to follow her heart. Let love be what it is and let go of society’s expectations of what love is,” added Fulu.