'Elelwani', which in TshiVenda means 'to remember', 'be aware' or 'recall'; is the latest local film to genuinely foreground Venda culture without purposely making it a thing of spectacle. Starring and produced by Florence Masebe, who has braced our small screens on programmes such as 'Scandal' and 'Generations', the movie is highly anesthetised and tells the story of love, cultural identity, heartbreak and perseverance. Known for her strong characters, Masebe infuses her performance with a complex vulnerability that only a seasoned actress could portray.
The story is about Elelwani and her boyfriend, Vele (Shonisani Muleya) who, in the throes of a deep romance, have planned to spend the rest of their lives together. Starry-eyed, they have a great education behind them and see themselves leaving the lush landscape of Venda for an urban romance. The tragedy occurs when Elelwani introduces Vele to her deeply traditional parents - her father is a stern man who sees the local king as the only suitable mate for his daughter.