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Material (2012)

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Cassim is a young Muslim man who works in his father's fabric shop in Johannesburg. However, Cassim wants to be a stand-up comedian, which his father disproves of. When he gets a gig at a local bar, he has to find a way of keeping it a secret.



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Credited cast:
Riaad Moosa ...
Cassim Kaif
Vincent Ebrahim ...
Ebrahim Kaif
Joey Yusuf Rasdien ...
Yusuf (as Joey Rasdien)
Fatima Kaif
Krijay Govender ...
Dadi Kaif
Zakeeya Patel ...
Aisha Kaif
Carishma Basday ...
Zulfa Ahmed
Royston Stoffels ...
Rafiq Kaif
Quanita Adams ...
Afzal Khan ...
Mel Miller ...
Nik Rabinowitz ...
Dave Gold
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Osman Ali ...
Mark Bennett ...
Performer in stand-up bar
Rosalind Butler ...
Customer at Rafiq's shop


Cassim is a young Muslim man who works in his father's fabric shop in Johannesburg. However, Cassim wants to be a stand-up comedian, which his father disproves of. When he gets a gig at a local bar, he has to find a way of keeping it a secret.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If he told you the story of his life you would probably think he was joking.


Comedy | Drama

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 February 2012 (South Africa)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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References Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Material is a leap forward in SA cinema
27 February 2012 | by (Johannesburg, South Africa) – See all my reviews

I get nervous when I hear that a new "South African" movie is being made. With all due respect and love, years of "Mr. Bones" sequels have left me skeptical about the ability of the SA film industry to produce world class stories.

You'll understand then why I curtailed my enthusiasm ahead of seeing Ronnie Apteker's new feature, Material. The SA film industry doesn't produce movies all that often and so when they do, there's a crap ton of hype to go with them. Everybody wants you to rally around the new film, hoping that you won't notice that it's not all that good and celebrate nonetheless because "local is lekker."

Ronnie's previous movies were cool, but he'll forgive me for saying that they weren't extraordinary. "Straight out of Benoni" struck a chord with me only because I grew up in Benoni, but it was still little more than experimental fun, and Footskating 101 was somewhat forgetful.

Material is different though. From the very first shot the movie is sincere and absorbing in its attempt to tell an ancient story of the struggle between tradition, culture, religion and modernism.

Cassim Kaif (played by multi-talented comedian and medical doctor Riaad Moosa) is a budding comedian who spends his daylight hours keeping the struggling Kaif family fabric shop in Fordsburg afloat, alongside his stubborn and old-fashioned father, Ebrahim (played by Vincent Ebrahim.)

The story is a familiar one. Cassim must balance his love and respect for his family and their faith while discovering his giftedness as an entertainer in a secular environment. He leads this double life with the help of his best friend Yusuf (played by Joey Rasdien) but all comes to a head when his family discovers the truth.

This sounds pretty serious, doesn't it? Well it is, but this relatively earnest tale is expertly interwoven with countless genuinely hilarious moments, which one could only expect from a movie written by people like Riaad Moosa and Ronnie Apteker (among others.) Those who have had the pleasure of meeting Ronnie will appreciate and testify to his brilliant sense of humour and all round appreciation for the lighter side of life, while Riaad is widely recognized as one of South Africa's top comedians. As a result Material is hard to categorise. It's all at once a fantastic comedy and gripping drama, something we seldom see in SA.

The film is not perfect, but is carried on the brilliant leading performances delivered by Vincent Ebrahim and Riaad Moosa. In fact Moosa surprises with his acting chops – is there anything this guy can't do? The script is solid and the supporting performances are endearing. All in all Material is a massive leap forward in local cinema, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Go see Material. It works because it is a story about the things that matter most in life; love, family, forgiveness, reconciliation, perseverance and of course, hilarious laughter. At worst you will be supporting local cinema. At best, it will change the way you see the world.

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