Otelo Burning (2011)

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When 16 year old Otelo Buthelezi, his best friend, New Year, and his 12 year old brother, Ntwe, are invited to the beach-house of their new friend, Tau Modise, they step into a world ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Jafta Mamabolo ...
Otelo Buthelezi
Thomas Gumede ...
New Year
Sihle Xaba ...
Mandla Modise
Tshepang Mohlomi ...
Ntwe Buthelezi
Nolwazi Shange ...
Kenneth Nkosi ...
Osar Buthelezi
Harriet Manamela ...
Hamilton Dhlamini ...
Motlatsi Mafatshe ...
Matthew Oats ...
Potential sponsor
Neil Coppen ...
Surf shop attendant


When 16 year old Otelo Buthelezi, his best friend, New Year, and his 12 year old brother, Ntwe, are invited to the beach-house of their new friend, Tau Modise, they step into a world previously closed to them. It is exactly the opposite of their township- a place under a constant and growing threat from political violence, driven by Inkatha hostel dwellers on one side and township United Democratic Front comrades on the other. Soon, everyone recognizes that Otelo is gifted on the water, a god in waiting for his purpose. An older white man, Kurt Struely, approaches the boys, certain of their potential and invites them to his home to watch some professional surfers on video. He paints them an enticing picture of the life to be had, if they can master every kind of break - money for nothing and the chicks for free. The boys practice and, under Struely's watchful eye, become really good. Otelo outshines his teacher, Tau, who begins to resent the obvious natural talent of his friend. His ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A boy with nothing to lose See more »





Official Sites:

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Release Date:

30 December 2011 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Otelo - Der Preis der Freiheit  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Great S.A. Film
11 May 2012 | by (South Africa) – See all my reviews

I got the honor of seeing this film at a Pre-Screening before it's release and I was very glad i got that opportunity. The film is set in the late 80's, the apartheid days in South Africa where it follows the story of the 2 boy's Otelo and New Year with their dreams to surf. The film was shot very well giving the the circumstances that some of the scenes involved shooting out at sea. I enjoyed most of the images in the film although i wished they could have shown more scenery of the locations they filmed in. Its understandable as the film is set in the 80's, but I believe they achieved what they wanted to portray.

Characters on the film where enjoyable to watch, Jafta playing Otelo could have done his scenes better as his emotion lacked in some areas of the film, his friend New Year, Narrator of the film did an exceptional job with his character and the narration of the film. The humor was quite funny an enjoyable as well. Overall the film is a fun ride as you get to experience surfing, as seen through the lives of young black teenagers.

This desrves a 8/10. Go out and see the film. Great South African Cinema.

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