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Photo still courtesy of Yellowbone Entertainment.

The Trailer for Jahmil X.T. Qubeka's New Film 'Knuckle City' Is a Must-Watch

"South Africa deserves a boxing film."

South African director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka has released the trailer for his fourth feature film, Knuckle City.

Before we get into the details, watch the chilling and riveting trailer below.


In Knuckle City, Qubeka explores the psychology of a fighter from South Africa's Mdantansane—a township with the legacy of producing boxing world champions—as the writer and director. Spoken in isiXhosa, the film also digs deep into the notions of inherited toxic masculinity and the intense underbelly of the fighting world.

Take a look at the synopsis from award-winning production house Yellowbone Entertainment below:

A slice of street life in South Africa's Mdantsane township, known as the boxing mecca ofSouth Africa, Knuckle City follows the journey of Dudu Nyakama (Bongile Mantsai), a down and out aging boxer as he struggles to attain the one fight that he believes will uplift his fractured family. Contending that the underbelly of the boxing world is rife with criminality, Dudu unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who's coming out of jail. Haunted by the ghost of their father, Dudu soon finds that the fight at home is far more challenging than any opponent he can possibly face in the ring.

Qubeka explains in his director's statement that this is his first film set in the area that raised him. Knuckle City is not only his ode to his formative years, but was also inspired by the fighting/crime films including Raging Bull, Fighter, Rocky and Mean Streets—all of which chronicle the coming-of-age journey to manhood. It's his effort to give South Africa its well-deserved boxing film.

BTS image courtesy of Yellowbone Entertainment.

BTS image courtesy of Yellowbone Entertainment.

"Growing up in the township of Mdantsane in the 80s and 90s was an experience that has shaped the entirety of my life," he says. "The energy of the landscape and the visceral fight for survival that is palpable on the streets has inspired in me a deep yearning to chronicle the lives of its inhabitants through cinema."

He continues:

"It is my intention to capture the essence of life in Mdantsane and the restless pursuit of being a champion within a society that often dictates you are a failure. I am determined with this film to give audiences a glimpse into a world rarely seen, and a deeper understanding of the multi-faceted individuals inhabiting our land."

Knuckle City is presented by Mzansi Magic and Yellowbone Entertainment; helmed by Layla Swart as its producer and editor. Stay tuned for the film's release date.

Revisit our 2018 interview with Qubeka, where he speaks on his experience telling the story of South Africa's legendary outlaw, John Kepe, here.

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Shane Eagle - BLACK (Official Video) www.youtube.com


About the features, the rapper says:

"Even though it all ties in together, the whole project isn't just one sound. The production is so layered that each sound peaks depending on your mood. There are different textures because of the features and that gives it different moods. Like, "Whispering To the Moon" with The Hics just adds that pop of colour to the record. With my first two projects I had no features, I probably had one feature across my debut album and EP. Approaching these features was kind of like going outside and playing with my friends. I feature everybody off an organic process and I had to experience a real moment with you. These are some of my favourite artists in the world and I think it's just ridiculous that it all happened on my project. Then the producers. Some who've worked on some of the greatest projects like Forest Hills Drive or Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, alongside producers that worked on Yellow by Shane Eagle. Having them all on one project has some significance. This is basically me saying 'When I do features, look who I want to be around.'"

Dark Moon Flower sees Shane rapping about a range of topics, meandering between sentimental and egotistical. Speaking on the personal subject matter, the emcee says:

"Instead of letting my experiences become my downfall, I kind of use them as my strength. On songs like "Evolve", being able to scream and let that out means when I'm done recording it doesn't affect me. It's therapeutic, and being able to rap those lyrics empowers me and also empowers the listener at the end of the day. It does take something for me to create those records 'cause sometimes you need to say the right thing for someone to get the message. On 'Story Time' especially, the production is very hard and there's almost this futuristic way of telling a story. I'm tapping into that when I say 'I had to lose my father in order to find the keys to the cage.' So the thing that I lost actually gave me direction. I just tell my true life story and put it into the music, that's what's gotten me to this point."

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