MASERU — For generations Basotho children have been left spellbound by the fable of Senkatana — a mythical boy hero who is said to have slain with a spear a monster that had devoured an entire village.
It’s a folktale that almost every grandparent has enjoyed narrating before bedtime.
Now, hold your breath: a film based on Moshanyana oa Senkatana is set for the big screen!
A Pretoria-based production company, Letsema la Tsela, has announced the film will be titled The Spear of Senkatana.
The company will produce the film in conjunction with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation.
Popular actor Kagiso Senkhe, director at Letsema la Tsela, said The Spear of Senkatana will tell the story of the mythic hero in a “modernised way”.
In the film, a group of young people sets out on an adventure in Lesotho to find a spear that Senkatana used to kill kholumolumo, the monster.
“The film is based on a Lesotho story,” Senkhe, who will direct the film, told a press conference last week.
“We figured working with Lesotho would actually be great as the Basotho people will get to participate in the film.
“Basotho people have a legacy.
“The world doesn’t know the history of Moshoeshoe. They don’t know that Moshoeshoe was a diplomat.”
He added: “We are living a different life from that of the past where we cannot tell our grandchildren tales anymore, the reason being that they have televisions to watch and home work to do.
“So what we are doing now is to tell the tale in a modernised way.”
The shooting of the film, in Lesotho, will begin in June next year.
About 45 percent of the film will be in Sesotho, while other indigenous languages such as Venda and Tswana will also be used.
Auditions will be held next month, but a crash course for the cast will be held first.
The film will feature veterans from South Africa and Lesotho as well as upcoming actors.
“We have promised to use some of Lesotho’s people and, yes, we will have actors and technicians from Lesotho,” Senkhe said.
Senkhe said films like Tsotsi and Jerusalema have proved to the world that southern Africa is capable of producing excellent movies.
“Tsotsi and Jerusalema are both hijack stories,” he said.
“We decided to show the world the positive side about black people.”
Senkhe said The Spear of Senkatana had nothing to do with the newly formed political party, Senkatana, led by Mokhotlong legislator Lehlohonolo Tsehlana.
“We heard that there is a political party by the name Senkatana in this country but this film has entirely nothing to do with it,” Senkhe said.
“There are no links whatsoever with the local political party.”
Senkhe has been seen in SABC 2’s drama series Muvhango and Litholoana tsa Sthepu, among others.
At the press conference he was accompanied by, among others, Jerry Tsie, a producer and actor seen in the SABC 2 Sesotho drama Masakeng.
Tsie is also in the Hollywood movie Karate Kid in which he plays the role of a ninja.
Speaking at the same press conference, chief executive of the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, Nthoalo Nthoalo, said he hoped the film would help attract tourists and investors to the Mountain Kingdom.
“The film will be distributed worldwide,” he said. “So Lesotho will be known internationally.
“People will have an interest to know about this country.”