Umkhungo: The Gift Short Film

Umkhungo Movie

The Africa Channel UK, Sky 268, would like to congratulate the winner of the 2011 Africa in Motion Short Film Award, Umkhungo, written and directed by Matthew Jankes.

This year, the Africa Channel were the proud sponsors of the Best Short Film category at Africa in Motion Film Festival, where this year’s entries focused on all aspects of African youth culture using heartfelt, emotional cinematic storytelling.

We agree that Umkhungo was a worthy winner, which combines powerful performances from a cast of talented actors with an engaging script that draws you in the moment the film begins.

The film focuses on a disillusioned Johannesburg street thug, who rescues an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers. On the run, he must help the sickly boy master his gift before a superstitious family member finds them.

It is gripping, emotional and above all, an excellent piece of film-making.

Watch the winning film Umkhungo in full below:

Jury comments:

“Excellent urban supernatural tale which successfully mixes up the genres to make a compelling short horror.” – Paul Dale

“A beautifully shot and edited film denoting a strong directorial storytelling voice, mixing the surreal to the real.” – Noe Mendelle

“I must confess that I have seen this film before. It touched me then and touched me again when I watched it. It moves me. A deeply serious film with powerful performances. Well cast. It proposes something powerful and disturbing about the belief in a world that is not material. An original and utterly unique take on black disaffection in South Africa. It takes a radical left turn that is exciting and disturbing. Yet it is does not feel like a political film. It feels deeply human and universal. It used what we didn’t know about the story to masterful effect, revealing motives delicately. Good script too though it went on a bit at the end.
I am dying to see a full-length feature made from this work. I want to see how Themba develops. The film hints at him losing his innocence and growing a harder skin to survive. A sublime little movie that packs a major major punch.” – Zina Saro-Wiwa

For more information on the Africa in Motion Film Festival, visit

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