When two people from completely different cultures fall in love, you can expect misunderstandings and culture clashes but when those people come from South Africa, one of the most divided and diverse countries on the planet, be assured that disaster and hilarity will ensue.
Fanie Fourie (Eduan van Jaarsveldt) is in a pickle. His brother’s wedding is looming and to the dismay of his family, he does not have a date. As his brother and friends tease him relentlessly, Fanie promises to ask the next girl that walks through the door to accompany him to the wedding. In walks Dinky Magubane (Zethu Dlomo), a young Zulu woman who agrees to accompany Fanie to the wedding on one condition, that he come through to her home in Brazzaville one afternoon and have lunch.
The pair follow through with their deal but to the surprise of everyone involved, Fanie and Dinky fall in love. That is the least of their worries though for in Zulu culture, lobola (dowry) must be paid to the bride’s father. Fanie soon learns just how difficult it can be to navigate the vast cultural divide to negotiate the lobola with Dinky’s father Dumisane Magubane (Jerry Mofokeng). Will they reach an agreement before Fanie loses Dinky?
Fanie Fourie’s Lobola is a fantastic and often painfully honest dissection of culture in South Africa. Stereotypes are examined and blown apart, subcultures are parodied and both Zulu and Afrikaans cultures are put under the director’s microscope. Running throughout the film is the casual yet pervasive racism evident in white South African culture, and the distrust and disdain that black South Africans often have for their white counterparts. The discrepancy between the exclusive gated mostly-white neighbourhoods and more modest life in the townships is also tackled where relative wealth in the townships will still yield less ostentatious lifestyles than that in the suburbs.
I enjoyed every minute of Fanie Fourie’s Lobola. I loved that Fanie and Dinky were just normal, down to earth South Africans, that there was nothing special about either of them until they met each other. Eduan van Jaarsveldt and Zethu Dlomo are superb in their roles as Fanie and Dinky but special mention must go to Chris Chameleon (former lead singer of Boo!) in his role as Fanie’s shallow yet famous brother Sarel Fourie.
Based on the novel by Nape 'a Motana and directed by Henk Pretorius, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola won Best Film at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival and Best Comedy at the 2013 Sedona International Film Festival. Following its cinematic release in South Africa in 2013, the film is now available on VOD on iTunes, Xbox, Playstation and additional VOD platforms.
I give Fanie Fourie’s Lobola five out of five stars.