December 23rd, 2005



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TsotsiTsotsiKyle Massey at event of TsotsiTsotsiTsotsiTsotsi

Six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader (Chweneyagae).

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 7.3/10 (16,189 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Director: Gavin Hood

Stars: Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Israel Makoe

In Johannesburg, a small time criminal, Tsotsi, is a teenager without feelings, hardened by his tough life. After a series of violent gang hits, Tsotsi hijacks a car. However, whilst driving, Tsotsi finds that there is a baby on the back seat. He brings the baby to his house in the slum. The next six days bring about a change in him that couldn't be foreseen.

Writers: Gavin Hood, Athol Fugard

Presley Chweneyagae - David 'Tsotsi'
Terry Pheto - Miriam
Kenneth Nkosi - Aap
Mothusi Magano - Boston
Zenzo Ngqobe - Butcher
Zola - Fela
Rapulana Seiphemo - John Dube
Nambitha Mpumlwana - Pumla Dube
Jerry Mofokeng - Morris
Ian Roberts - Captain Smit
Percy Matsemela - Sergeant Zuma
Thembi Nyandeni - Soekie
Owen Sejake - Gumboot Dlamini
Israel Makoe - David's father
Sindi Khambule - David's mother

Taglines: In this world... redemption just comes once.


Official Website: MK2 [France] | Official site |

Release Date: 23 December 2005

Filming Locations: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Box Office Details

Budget: $3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $76,324 (USA) (26 February 2006) (6 Screens)

Gross: $2,912,363 (USA) (9 July 2006)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:  | Canada: (Toronto International Film Festival)

Did You Know?

In urban slang of Johannesburg "tsotsi" loosely translated means "thug".

Crew or equipment visible: When Tsotsi enters the room of the kidnapped child, you can see (on the right hand side) that the wall paper is false.

Morris: [after hearing a defining moment in Tsotsi/David's childhood] What kind of bastard would break a dog's back?

User Review

Powerful Cinema

Rating: 8/10

There is a tendency for South African cinema (such as it is) to want to see itself through the eyes of the world. Hence the many comments such as "this film could be set in LA" (ie: it's almost as good as an American movie) As a result, most cinema from South Africa is often very limited in its artistic ambitions and storytelling usually takes second place to making sure South Africa "looks good" on the screen so that "people overseas" will see "our beautiful country" The Australians used to call this the cultural cringe and it also took them some time to find their voice.

Tstosti is a wonderfully told piece of cinema set in the distinctive word of black Johannesburg criminals (I say black, because there is a very different world for white criminals)It works because underneath all the bells and whistles of great camera angles, phenomenal acting and- yes- its unique setting lies something much, much more important: A strong, strong story. A story about things that every human on earth can identify with (love and death). This is not a film for "people overseas"- it's a film in which South Africans to see and hear themselves as real people and not as feeble caricatures gleaned from countless Hollywood movies.

It might well be the start of a something great.


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