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The Swenkas (2004)

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A documentary on Johannesburg South African men who call themselves "Swenkas" and compete for cash and prizes in an event that's part fashion show, part choreography, and part moral code.


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Storyteller (voice)


A documentary on Johannesburg South African men who call themselves "Swenkas" and compete for cash and prizes in an event that's part fashion show, part choreography, and part moral code.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

18 November 2004 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Oi Swenkas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

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Featured in Smagsdommerne: Episode #2.16 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Hope, Joy, and a really great hat!
20 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

I saw this film at AFI/Silverdocs, in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was the night before Father's Day, and I can think of no more fitting tribute to the love of Fathers and Sons for one another. The Swenkas are South African workers who have found a unique way to channel their self respect, their creativity, and their hope in the future in the worker's hell that Apartheid created and modern South African society can't seem to dismantle. Hard lives, miserable living conditions and long separations from their families would beat down the strongest men. The Swenkas beliefs in cleanliness, self respect, chaste behavior, and support for one another give them hope in their grim world. Their healthy humorous competition for the best attired man gives them joy. Their snappy clothing and male model performances are exercises in self respect and creativity, a Texas beauty queen has nothing on these guys. These guys love life and every bit of excitement they can wring out of it, and their families share in that joy. It was those small moments between husband and wife, father and son, mentor and student that brought tears to my eyes. Jeppe Ronde has created a warm and loving documentary/fable on a small but strong community. His use of the story telling technique is appropriate for a culture that passes it's stories down verbally. His selection of music is inspired, reminding us that these men are not so unlike us. Mr. Ronde spoke after the film, and he was warm, funny, and further broadened my appreciation for his film and for the Swenkas. There is a lot we can learn from the Swenkas, beyond the best dressed lists - we can learn some tenderness and some humanity. Its not the flashy clothes, its the heart behind it. See this film, and then show it to the men in your life.

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