Johannesburg - SAFTA award-winning and veteran Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha stars in yet another emotional short film, called “The Deal”.
It addresses issues such as GBV, mental illness, fatherlessness, and other social challenges faced by young people from different walks of life.
The film, funded by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and written by Paul Modjadji, focuses on the life of an 18-year-old girl, Thandeka, portrayed by a poet and actress Botlhale Boikanyo.
This film examines the notion of transgenerational transactional relationships in South Africa. In the movie, Thandeka finds herself in a transactional sexual affair with a wealthy man.
In addition, it examines the fine line between coercion and consent through the toll young girls experience when they pursue higher education.
The film premiered on June 14 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation before the 2022 Father's Day celebration and June 16 commemorations.
Mofokeng wa Makhetha plays the role of a porter in the short film.
Other household names starring in the movie include legendary actress Abigail Kubeka, Aubrey Poo, Napo Masheane and Matli Mahepeloa.
The film will be available on Showmax in South Africa in August.
While he has a few scenes, Mofokeng wa Makhetha says the character can evoke conversation about fatherhood and the challenges of raising fatherless children.
In one particular scene, Thandeka approaches the porter asking for directions to a room of a wealthy man of questionable character.
The porter knows what happens in those hotel rooms and the horrors that await Thandeka.
“When the young girl approaches the porter and asks him to go to a certain room, everything in him says ‘do not go there,’ but he is powerless.
“He suffers at the sight of her ascending the stairs. We do not get an opportunity to show the porter’s suffering, but the things this little girl suffers through in the film,” said Mofokeng wa Makhetha.
Mofokeng wa Makhetha said the film might leave you questioning how many young girls are vulnerable because of their needs and due to the absence of a father in their lives.
However, the audience will decide because the actual engagement starts when the story ends.
“The film does not preach nor prescribe. In spite of this, the film's end is where the engagement begins to take place.
“Standing ovations are good, but if you forget about the film, then we have not accomplished our goal."
Moreover, Mofokeng wa Makhetha said the film gives society a chance to look at how to be a father to a girl child.
He referred to the famous saying: It takes a village to raise a child.
“After watching the film, I would like every male to look at themselves as the father of that young girl. They need to think about how they could rescue her by making it impossible for her to walk into that snare,” said the Thespian.
There is a difference between being a father and supporting children, and the two are often confused, Mofokeng wa Makhetha said.
“Supporting means outsourcing your fatherly duties with material possessions. Fathering can be as simple as hugging your daughter and building that relationship with them. Share your life story with them.
“Discussing those difficult subjects. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with them. Fathering is being there. Build a connection with your children,” said Mofokeng wa Makhetha.
He showed significant concern about the issue of raising fatherless children.
Research shows that fatherlessness is prevalent in South Africa, particularly in black communities.
According to a study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council and the SA Race Relations Institute in 2019, at least 60% of children in the country have absent fathers.
Furthermore, in February last year, Statistics SA revealed that 31.7% of black children have present fathers.
This is compared with 51.3% of coloured children, 86.1% of Indian/Asian children and 80.2% of white children.