Vaya showcases some of the country's most exciting new and established talent
20 October 2017
Akin Omotoso’s award-winning feature film, Vaya, which releases at cinemas nationally on 27 October, is a riveting tale of innocents adrift in an uncaring, often dangerous metropolis and brings together some of the country’s finest and most exciting new and established acting talents.
In casting for Vaya, the filmmakers turned to South Africa’s supreme casting agent Moonyeenn Lee, who has assembled an enviable cast of well-loved, household names as well as some of the country’s most captivating new actors. “We were fortunate to have Moonyeenn Lee to guide us through the casting process,” says Akin Omotoso. “She understood perfectly the demands of the script and brought her years of experience and magic touch to the casting process. Each of these actors brings something unique and special to the film and their performances are uniformly brilliant.”
Written by Craig Freimond, Tshabalira Lebakeng, Antony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Nthuli, Harriet Perlman and Robbie Thorpe, Vaya follows three characters who arrive by train at Johannesburg’s Park Station, each on a personal mission. Strangers to the city, they are each forced to confront fundamental issues of survival.
Nkulu is charged with retrieving his father’s remains from the city and bringing them back home for burial. Sent on a wild goose chase in search of his father’s body, he discovers that there were many aspects to his father’s life that he knew nothing of. Nkulu is played by newcomer Sibusiso Msimang in his debut film role. This Bachelor of Social Sciences student turns in a fine, nuanced performance as a small-town and naïve young man who, must negotiate an unfamiliar, cruel environment to save his family’s honour.
Fellow traveler, Nhlanhla, a chatty, enthusiastic, devil-may-care guy is excited about the prospect of getting rich quickly in the City of Gold. He has been offered a job by his wealthy cousin, however, upon arrival, he finds that the job being offered is far removed from what he envisioned and his dreams are quickly dashed. Sihle Xaba who plays Nhlanhla is no stranger to local audiences. He earned rave reviews for his roles in Ayanda, Otelo Burning, for which he won Best Promising Actor in the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria and the television series Bay of Plenty.
The only female in the group is Zanele who is chaperoning a young girl who’s en route to reunite with her mother, a singer who manages a tavern. Zanele harbours dreams of her own and when she meets the tavern owner, who promises that he can get her on TV as a dancer, she believes her life is about to change forever. But there is more to this offer than meets the eye. Cast as Zanele, is Zimkhitha Nyoka who turns in a mesmerising performance as a gentle, resourceful woman trying to balance her own dreams with her duty to protect a young child from a dreadful fate. Best remembered for her roles in Mutual Friends and Gold Diggers, Vaya marks her feature film debut. Her role earned her an African Movie Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Burning up the screen as Xolani, local gangster and all-round bad guy, is multi award- winning actor, Warren Masemola. His quiet, brooding portrayal, punctuated by lethal glances and a resolute jaw imbue the character of Xolani with enough menace to raise the hairs at the back of your neck. Warren has earned accolades for his work in local and international films iNumber Number, Hard to Get and most recently Gavin Hood’s Eye in the Sky.
Vaya is distributed by Times Media Films.