Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Esa Alexander via Getty Images.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA FEBRUARY 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) ANCs Jackson Mthembu during day 1 of the 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 debate at the National Assembly on February 12, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Members of Parliament gathered to question President Cyril Ramaphosa address, which took place on February 07. Ramaphosa is due to respond on February 14.

South African Minister Jackson Mthembu Dies from COVID-19

South Africa pays tribute to Minister Jackson Mthembu following his sudden death after contracting COVID-19.

South African Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has reportedly died from COVID-19 complications. The 62-year-old minister died this past Thursday after revealing last week that he had contracted the coronavirus. Tributes have been pouring in from colleagues, opposition parties, media personalities and South Africans in general. President Cyril Ramaphosa shared the news of Mthembu's sudden passing on social media.

Read: eSwatini Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini Dies

Mthembu reportedly visited a military hospital in Pretoria after experiencing abdominal pains that needed medical attention. According to IOL, he was tested for COVID-19 and the results came back positive. He died only after ten days of battling the virus.

His death has, contrary to the nature of politics, united the voices of opposition parties in the outpouring of endearing condolences. According to BusinessDay, John Steenhuisen, leader of the opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), stated that while they were enemies, they were also friends during the time they both served as chief whips of their respective political parties.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stated that Mthembu's death was the the "loss of a powerful force who discharged his responsibilities with passion". The EFF went on to commend Mthembu for his unwavering stance on land expropriation, this according to the SABC. The Freedom Front (FF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Congress of the People (COPE) all commended Mthembu's character.

Tributes have also been coming in waves from ANC members. National Chair of Provinces, Thandi Modise, said that they had lost a fierce vocal freedom party. Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, reportedly saluted Mthembu for his immense contributions to the party.

South Africa is currently on an adjusted level three lockdown levels, all beaches remain closed and the sale of alcohol has been halted. The government has, however, announced for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout to commence in February 2021.

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

South African Director Oliver Hermanus on Remaking a Classic

The award-winning director behind Skoonheid and Moffie tackles his first film set outside his home country -- a reworking of auteur Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru -- which is premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

In Living, Oliver Hermanus’ latest film, Bill Nighy takes on the role Takashi Shimura earned a BAFTA nomination for playing in the 1952 classic, Ikiru. Except Nighy's not Mr Watanabe, he’s Mr Williams, a British version of Shimura’s workaholic who finds out he only has a short time left to live. Revered auteur Akira Kurosawa’s film made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, where it would go on to win him a special prize of the senate of Berlin, before garnering acclaim for many more years to come. So, too, is Hermanus' remaking of the story bowing at a film festival, and so far, it's also been earning the South African director high praise.

Born in Cape Town, Hermanus has steadily built his career on South African-centric stories. Whether it’s the portrait of a Mitchell’s Plain mother caught between poverty and violence in Shirley Adams or the experience of gay recruits conscripted into the army in Moffie, Hermanus’ films speak to various realms of South African life. Living is his first venture outside of South Africa – not just in storyline, but in cast and crew too. The screenplay is by Nobel and Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of The Day) and Hermanus was brought on as director by the producers.

From debuting his first film Shirley Adams in 2009 in competition at the 62nd Locarno Film Festival, followed by Skoonheid (Beauty) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and The Endless River at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it was the first South African film to be invited to the main competition, to his fourth feature, Moffie at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019, Hermanus has cemented his reputation as a filmmaker to watch.

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