The letter reader

Sibusiso Khuzwayo, South Africa, 2019

29 minutes, Zulu with English subtitles

This film tells the story of Siyabonga, a 12-year-old boy from Johannesburg who is sent to a village in Kwazulu-Natal to live with his grandmother, while his parents are sorting out their marital problems. As a city boy who is not accustomed to doing household chores, Siyabonga struggles to adapt. He discovers the power of words as he reads letters that put a smile on people’s faces.


Sibusiso Khuzwayo read Thabo Mbeki’s biography, The Dream Deferred by Mark Gevisser, and he was inspired by a small story about a boy who read letters to villagers at a time in the country when it suited the regime to keep black South Africans illiterate. The result is a short film that was shot recently in a remote mountain village in the magical Drakensberg. Sibusiso graduated from Boston Media House with a diploma in television production. He was a writer on the SABC drama series, Thola (Season 2) and has directed and edited various inserts for television shows.

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