A new local movie highlights the reality of schoolkids’ lives on the Cape Flats.
Filled with drama and intrigue, Sodium Day tells the story of a neglected matric class in a dilapidated school on the Flats.
In the space of a single day, viewers witness how they navigate their way through absent teachers, racial tensions, a fellow student who goes missing, and the threat of local gangsters.
Written and directed by the award-winning Riaz Solker, the film, which depicts shocking and at times funny scenarios, was released in cinemas nationwide on 22 April.
Mense might recognise Riaz, 48, who played Mr Faraway in the popular film, Noem My Skollie.
He was born in London but raised in Hanover Park near Groenvlei High School, and witnessed first hand how societal ills impact schoolkids.
Some of Riaz’s credits include the short film, Past Tense, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and placed third out of 22 000 entries worldwide at the 48 Hour Film competition.
He’s also taught Directing and Acting at City Varsity Cape Town, and it was through preparing and nurturing these students that he dreamed up Sodium Day.
“Sodium Day is a story that draws on my personal experiences in the government education system, and is filled with characters and depictions that reflect the new South Africa and its struggles,” he says.
“I had always wanted to make a film set in a South African government high school, I guess ever since my first year of teaching, which was in the mid-90s.
“I think it’s of vital importance for us as South Africans to engage with the shortcomings in our education system, especially for the disadvantaged youth who have no other options except what the government is providing, as this directly influences the state of our nation going into the future.
The film was shot at a Cape Town school and stars Charlton George, best known for his starring role in the kykNET drama series Sara se Geheim, as well as a host of fresh new talents like Ashlon Thomas and Lucian Daniels.
The film is currently playing at all Ster-Kinekor cinemas nationwide.