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Music is My Life to premiere at Encounters 22

The opening night film of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will be a homage to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, called Music is My Life.

The 24th edition of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival unveils the first four South African films to be screened this year. For the first time in two years, all films will be shown in selected cinemas in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 23 June to 3 July 2022.

The Opening night film is the much-anticipated homage to Joseph Shabalala and his legendary music group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Music is My Life and receives its World Premiere at Encounters 2022.

Directed by emerging young filmmaker Mpumi “Supa” Ngcuka, a graduate of the Chelsea Arts School, New York Film Academy and the AAA, who has worked predominantly in commercials, Music is My Life is the ‘official story of the iconic doyenne of South Africa’s unique isicathamiya (a capella) sound and the music group that infused itself into the heart of a nation and the world.

Music is My Life tells how Shabalala overcame adversity to follow his dream and spread his rare vocal style, rooted in the Zulu Nation, to the rest of the world – creating an inimitable musical and cultural legacy.  But the film delves deeper than this, using unseen archival footage and exclusive interviews with Joseph and the Shabalala family and stars like Paul Simon, Oprah Winfrey and Dolly Parton. The film follows the journey of Shabalala’s life from humble beginnings in the village of Ladysmith to the global stage with more than 50 studio albums, multiple awards, including five Grammys, the historic runaway success with four songs on Paul Simon’s Graceland album during the dark days of Apartheid. It’s no wonder Nelson Mandela said that it was their powerful musical message of hope that kept him going.

More films will be announced in the upcoming weeks. The following cinemas will be screening the 2022 Encounters’ line-up: In Cape Town – The Labia Theatre, The Bertha House Mowbray, and The Bertha Movie House Isivivana Community Centre Khayelitsha. In Johannesburg – The Bioscope Independent Cinema and CineCentre Killarney.

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