Get ready because this March a film is coming out that will either be an unprecedented exploration of race and love in South Africa — or a really uncomfortable and problematic cinematic representation of post-apartheid South Africa. We’ll concede that it could also fall somewhere in between. Directed by Hank Pretorius and co-written by Janine Eser and Preotorius, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola is an interracial love story that explores what happens when an Afrikaans man, Fanie (Eduan van Jaarsveld) and a Zulu girl, Dinkie (Zethu Dlomo) fall in love and have to work through the complicated process of lobola/lobolo (South African custom of bride price). The film is based on Nape à Motana’s novel of the same name. Check out the trailer below:

So how do we react to this trailer? Well, like we said, it could either be amazing or a really uncomfortable viewing experience. If we solely look at the data about the prevalence of interracial relationships in South Africa, — surprise, surprise — interracial marriage is extremely rare throughout the country despite a large number of mixed heritage individuals.


From the trailer, it seems like a cute-enough romantic comedy that would be fun to watch but we’re also hesitant of how the film, via the genre it’s embedded in, will try to rectify and smooth over these serious and deeply ingrained understandings of race and racism in the country. We get a glimpse of this in the preview when Fanie’s mother says disapprovingly “It’s the Africa in her blood” to which he responds, “Africa is in my blood too.” Great, but it kind of makes us dread the ending where his mother gets over the fact that she’s racist just in time to embrace her son’s new relationship. We think most of us can agree that things don’t work out that way in the real world, but nonetheless it’s a romantic comedy, and nothing about romantic comedies has anything to with reality and everything to do with fantasy. So why not dream then about happy romantic endings and love in addition to the end of racism in SA?


8 Replies to "Film: Post-Apartheid Race Relations in ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’"
Zachary says:
January 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Look at what the title of the film says about who has power in South Africa.

    @bianca_miles says:
    January 31, 2013 at 3:03 am

    would it have changed your view if the film was called Dinkys Lobola?

    Zachary says:
    January 31, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Slightly yes. But the title remains centered on Fanie. He is the character the audience is supposed to primarily support. Dinkie is presented as secondary. These subtle details are still indicators of power dynamics in South Africa. We clearly see that the film is made by and for Afrikaners. The trailer looks cute and may have positive themes of tolerance and openmindedness, which is important for that audience to see, but it’s too bad that other potential audiences for this type of story are not on equal footing.

    Sasa says:
    January 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    U know this film is inspired by that novel FAnie fourie’s Lobola by Nape a Motana? He’s a Sepedi author with a sense of humour. Fanie Fourie’s Lobola – two words u would neva think to see with lobola are Fanie & Fourie!

    Sasa says:
    February 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Fanie Fourie’s Lobola is both a contemporary love story and an honest exploration of the post-apartheid South African psyche. And it’s a good laugh.

    What makes the film exceptional is that it’s not just about an interracial couple in South Africa but about two people who need each other to become better people and to realise their dreams.

    Drum Magazine review -by Nontsikelelo Mpulo

Greg smith says:
January 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm

It’s interesting because it feels like South Africa only explores these hotbed subjects in films about their past.

It will be interesting to see a modern take on love , culture and heritage that blurs the lines of the reality of our country.

    Anonymous says:
    January 31, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Maybe you should watch the film first before making asumptions about it.

SIafu says:
March 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

@ Sasa — thanks. :-)

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