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Amandla Review

A moving narrative about the importance of family, loyalty and love.

Amandla is a 2022 Netflix original written and directed by Nerina De Jager. The crime-thriller follows the story of two brothers: Impi (Lemogang Tsipa) and Nkosana Khumalo (Thabo Rametsi) whose fates are bound by blood, even when they are separated by circumstance. Growing up during the era of white minority rule in South Africa, we see young Impi and Nkosana dream of a better life and plans to elevate their family from poverty by moving to Kwazulu to meet with their uncle who can help them but the enforced racial discrimination against non-Whites in South Africa leads to the murder of their parents, forcing the brothers to fight for their survival as they grow in the slums to Isando.

Impi is forced to follow a dark path to give attention to his brother while Nkosana decides to make something of his life as a police officer. Upon discovering the hideous crime committed by Impi, fate tries to tear the two brothers apart causing them to lose everything they hold dear.

With power being the central theme of the film, the storyline creates an exhilarating image of strength, conviction, and dignity. However, the director carefully ensures not to glorify violence or promote criminal conduct as an ultimate need for survival when faced with life difficulties. Instead as a form of appeal, the story demonstrates how damaging crime and violence can be to both society and individuals.

Shot beautifully by cinematographer Justus de Jager with a sombre background score, the film opens with an aerial view of South Africa’s large landmass and carefully introduces young Impi and Nkosana and their bond as brothers. It is quite remarkable to see the director use raw emotional moments to draw attention to each character's backstory. You could literally feel Lemogang Tsipa owning his character and living the experience. His interpretation as an actor gives an accurate account of how a man can resign his fate to doom. The depth of the brother’s love was also demonstrated when they were having a heated conversation about Impi’s involvement in a murder case. The delivery Impi portrayed in that scene beautifully showcases the strength and weakness of a man. The screenplay cleverly incorporated flashbacks to help viewers comprehend what happened to the brothers as children and how it affected their lives as a lawbreaker and law enforcement agents.

As it retells some of the heinous aspects of black history, this well-researched motion picture with little factual error does not shortchange the truth. The movie skillfully weaves its drama as it coherently discusses a difficult time in the history of apartheid revealing how two brothers are forced to make decisions that will eternally decide their fates due to circumstances beyond their control. The movie also brilliantly demonstrates how hasty decisions may have terrible repercussions in life.

Ultimately, this thrilling drama successfully tells a powerful story about the strength of family, loyalty, and above all love. Although it ends tragically, the movie manages to create a sense of hope for the future. So, If you are looking to watch a film that relays the current political situation in Africa fascinatingly, then you should stream Amandla on Netflix.

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