The Un­break­able Bu­siswa Gqulu

YOUNG STAR: DOC­U­MEN­TARY DE­BUTS NEXT WEEK

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Hay­den Horner

Life story of a tal­ented mu­si­cian at Africa Ris­ing Film Fes­ti­val.

Bu­siswa Gqulu has cap­tured the hearts of South Africans with her saucy dance moves and catchy lyrics, and won nu­mer­ous awards in a me­te­oric rise in an in­dus­try where you’re big one day and a has-been the next.

How­ever, while this Mthatha-born singer-song­writer’s star keeps on shin­ing brighter, her life story is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter and one that is wor­thy of a place on the big screen.

From strug­gling to hold down tem­po­rary jobs while stay­ing in a friend’s apart­ment after drop­ping out of univer­sity, there was a time when noth­ing in her life in­di­cated she’d be one of the big­gest mu­si­cians on the con­ti­nent.

“I was lit­er­ally squat­ting at my friend’s place in Dur­ban. I had dropped out of var­sity at that time.

“I was broke and I was do­ing a few (odd) jobs. Wait­ress­ing and work­ing at a hair sa­lon.

“You know, do­ing those gigs, work­ing at the art cen­tre do­ing po­etry ses­sions,” the no-holds­barred Gqulu once told a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion.

But now, thanks to Gqulu’s will­ing­ness to share her story and the di­rect­ing ge­nius of Fred Kayembe and Vaughn Thiel, au­di­ences will soon be able to see her jour­ney in the pow­er­ful bi­o­graph­i­cal doc­u­men­tary Bu­siswa: An Un­break­able Story.

Set to de­but at the Africa

Ris­ing In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (Ariff) on Wed­nes­day next week and nar­rated by Gqulu, the film ex­plores mod­ern ideas of in­de­pen­dence, fem­i­nin­ity and iden­tity through the per­former’s re­mark­able per­sonal life story.

“We are thrilled to have a story about a pow­er­ful woman who is chang­ing the game in more ways than one lead our open­ing night,” said (Ariff) co-founder Ayanda Sithebe in a press state­ment.

The or­gan­is­ers said the doc­u­men­tary would take au­di­ences on a jour­ney back in time while ex­plor­ing the com­plex con­di­tions and events that thrust a mod­est young girl from the East­ern Cape into the lime­light and then on to achiev­ing global sta­tus.

She re­cently joined Bey­oncé Knowles on The Gift al­bum cu­rated by Knowles for The Lion King movie.

The film fes­ti­val, which will be held in Jo­han­nes­burg’s New­town precinct from Wed­nes­dayu to Fri­day next week, aims to ad­dress lack of ac­ces­si­bil­ity, women em­pow­er­ment and youth de­vel­op­ment by pro­vid­ing pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties – the youth, women, the LGBTQI+ (les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der, queer or ques­tion­ing and in­ter­sex) com­mu­nity and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties – an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the fes­ti­val.

The four-day pro­gramme will in­clude The Chi’s cre­ator and cov­eted writer Lena Waithe’s dy­namic and thrilling fea­ture, Queen & Slim, star­ring Black Pan­ther’s Daniel Kalu­uya.

De­scribed as the “mod­ern day Bon­nie and Clyde” the film is di­rected by Melina

Mat­soukas, best known for her work on Bey­once’s cul­ture-defin­ing vis­ual For­ma­tion.

Queen & Slim is due for Amer­i­can re­lease on the open­ing night of the Africa Ris­ing In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

Pic­tures: Gallo Im­ages

ME­TE­ORIC RISE. Bu­siswa Gqulu, cen­tre front, dur­ing the 2019 Feather Awards held at Fox Junc­tion this year in Jo­han­nes­burg. The an­nual Feather Awards event high­lights LGBTI is­sues and chal­lenges in South Africa.

MOV­ING ON UP. Bu­siswa Gqulu dur­ing the of­fi­cial SA pre­miere of Dis­ney’s The Lion King in Jo­han­nes­burg on July 18 this year.

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