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This Must-Watch Short Film Introduces A South African Superhero Origins Story

The short film 'Umkhungo' follows an extraordinary orphaned boy as he masters his superpower gifts in the Johannesburg slums of Hillbrow.


Whether you believe superheroes are born or made, filmmaker Matthew Jankes has brought a new one to life in his short film Umkhungo.

Currently available for viewing on Vimeo, the 2010 film tells the story of Themba (Sivuyisiwe Mtshaka,) an extraordinary young orphaned boy from the overpopulated Johannesburg slums of Hillbrow. He develops an unlikely bond with Mthunzi (Israel Makoe,) a jaded hustler who begrudgingly rescues Themba after the brutal murder of the boy's mother and the mysterious death of his father. The villain, Themba's superstitious uncle Gwala (Lennox Mathabathe,) pursues the pair as they learn more about Themba's burgeoning power and race to locate Mthunzi’s long-lost brother, culminating in a spellbinding final scene of superhuman proportions.

"Jankes wanted to create something that didn’t simply rip Hollywood off, but also had a big heart," wrote Vimeo Editor Jason Sondhi. "Using the native attributes of Johannesburg helps to effectively accomplish this desire, and the blending of paranormal and supernatural feels like an area ripe for further exploration."

Umkhungo, which translates to "The Gift," was made through a now defunct program launched by Focus Features called Africa First Shorts. Its digital release comes six months after the online debut of the West Africa-based superhero film Oya: Rise Of The Orishas. Nosa Igbinedion, the Nigerian writer, director and producer behind Oyatold an interviewer that he made the short film in order to prove that there is a market for sci-fi films revolving around African characters and storylines.

Check out the impressive short film below and let us know what you think. Are you as eager to see what happens to Themba as we are?

H/T Shadow & Act

Music
Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images

Wizkid, Tems, Black Coffee & More Nominated For 2022 Grammy Awards

See the full list of African artists honored during Tuesday's nomination ceremony.

Next year's Grammy nominations are in and Africa showed up and out!

The 64th annual Grammy music awards are on the horizon, and Tuesday's nomination ceremony covered a lot of ground within the music industry. Not surprisingly, Wizkid's Made In Lagos (Deluxe) received a nod for Best Global Music album, with the stellar and globally adorned track "Essence" featuring Nigeria's Tems being nominated for Best Global Music Performance. Nigerian favorites Femi and Made Kuti's joint project Legacy+ received a nomination under the Best Global Music Album category.

Other notable nods include; Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo's collaboration with Nigerian powerhouse Burna Boy, as well her performance with American cellist Yo-Yo Ma received under the Global Music Performance category. South Africa's Black Coffee's album Subconsciously made its mark within the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album category with his own nomination, and Ghanaian artist Rocky Dawuni under Best Global Music Album.

The music ceremony will be hosted in Los Angeles, US on January 31 2022 and we're excited to see who snags the highly coveted awards during next year's ceremony. In the meantime, let us know on Twitter who you're excited to see perform.

Keep scrolling to see the full list of African artists nominated for next year's Grammy award ceremony.

Check out the full list of nominees here.

Best Global Music Performance

"Mohabbat," Arooj Aftab

"Do Yourself," Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy

"Pà Pá Pà," Femi Kuti

"Blewu," Yo-Yo Ma and Angelique Kidjo

"Essence," Wizkid featuring Tems

Best Global Music Album

"Voice Of Bunbon, Vol. 1," Rocky Dawuni

"East West Players Presents: Daniel Ho and Friends Live in Concert," Daniel Ho and Friends

"Mother Nature," Angelique Kidjo

"Legacy +," Femi Kuti and Made Kuti

"Made In Lagos: Deluxe Edition," Wizkid

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

"Subconsciously," Black Coffee

"Fallen Embers," Illenium

"Music Is the Weapon (Reloaded)," Major Lazer

"Shockwave," Marshmello

"Free Love," Sylvan Esso

"Judgement," Ten City

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