Centered around the journey of a young Mosotho boy who faces the ill-treatment of his relatives after the death of his parents, Nyamatsana film was last weekend recognised as the 2023 best Sesotho film at the inaugural TycoonSeries Film Festival Awards held at Lehakoe Recreational Centre.
Director of the film, Realeboha Mokhabi, told Newsday that being recognised as winners at an event of that magnitude, which was graced by veteran South African actor, Khotso Nkhatho widely known as â€˜Mopheme,â€™ meant that they were doing something right and need to work harder.
â€œIt is a huge privilege to have been recognised as the winner of such a big award,â€ he said.
â€œI could not believe it when it was announced but this shows that our work is getting the recognition it deserves. I must also point out that even those who competed with us had produced some very good films, and that says competition is very tough, and I promise Basotho that they can expect bigger things from Nyamatsana this year.â€
Mokhabi explained that the Nyamatsana journey had not been an easy one dating back to 2017 when its first part was produced.
He said growing up he always loved exploring new things to see what could work out for him, until he realized that his biggest passion is film-making.
â€œMy journey in this industry began when I was still in high school, where I would also take lead roles in theatre groups and whenever there were competitions we would find ourselves in the top five position,â€ he said.
â€œAround 2010, I established my own theatre group in my home village in Matukeng where I brought together some of the children, and I must state that we were quite under-resourced. Then sometime in 2017 with the few funds we had, Nyamatsana was produced,â€ he said.
Mokhabi said the first part of the film focuses on the hardships that orphans face after their parents pass away, where they usually find themselves fighting over their parentâ€™s properties with relatives, then the second part focuses more on how the boy overcomes the challenges as he goes out of his way to fight the relatives.
â€œThe second part of Nyamatsana which was a continuation of the hardships that the boy faces and how he manages to overcome them, was released in 2019 and it received the Best Short Film Award during the Lesotho Film Festival, and today the third part has also won best feature film award.â€
However, he was quick to add that even though Nyamatsana is a series, he has also produced about ten films which he sells to film lovers through portable drives and memory cards.
â€œEven though they may be seen as a lot, the journey has not been easy as filmmakers do not get the support they need from the government.â€
â€œThere are a lot of challenges in this industry because even though we create entertaining content for people, we also need to survive but we do not get the support we need. In most cases, you find that government only supports artists when they are recognised internationally but that has not stopped us to continue producing films,â€ Mokhabi said.