2 user 13 critic
Against all odds Themba realizes his dream playing for the National soccer team, Bafana Bafana.


Stefanie Sycholt


Stefanie Sycholt (screenplay), Lutz van Dijk (book)
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Junior Singo Junior Singo ... Themba Matakane (16) (as Nat 'Junior' Singo)
Simphiwe Dana Simphiwe Dana ... Mandisa Matakane
Patrick Mofokeng Patrick Mofokeng ... Luthando Njokwane
Kagiso Motsei Kagiso Motsei ... Sipho (16)
Emmanuel Soqinase Emmanuel Soqinase ... Themba (12)
Melabantu Maxhama Melabantu Maxhama ... Sipho (12)
Anisa Mhlungula Anisa Mhlungula ... Nomtha (13)
Mihle Mtakati Mihle Mtakati ... Nomtha (9)
Rapulana Seiphemo Rapulana Seiphemo ... Vuyo Matakane
Doctor Khumalo Doctor Khumalo ... Himself
Jens Lehmann ... John Jacobs
Anelisa Phewa Anelisa Phewa ... Andile Khumalo
Crystal Cunningham Crystal Cunningham ... Naledi
Lindokuhle Nogwina Lindokuhle Nogwina ... Bongi (12)
Nkoi Matshoba Nkoi Matshoba ... Xolile, the shopkeeper


Set predominantly in the spectacular Eastern Cape of South Africa, THEMBA, is the moving story of a young Xhosa boy who dreams of being a soccer star and longs for his absent father to return home. His non-idyllic childhood in the rural Eastern Cape comes to an abrupt end when his mother is forced to look for work in Cape Town after losing her job, and he and his sister are left in the care of her lover. After Themba is raped, he and his sister go to look for their mother in Cape Town even though his soccer team stands to win the Eastern Cape Junior championships. They find her dying of AIDS. Themba has to force the fact that he, too, is infected. Against all odds, he realizes his soccer dream and plays for Bafana Bafana. This gives him the courage to take a public stand and tell the world that he is HIV positive. Written by Stefanie Sycholt

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

soccer | aids | hiv | f rated | rape | See All (7) »





Official Sites:

Official site | Official site


Germany | South Africa

Release Date:

16 July 2010 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Themba - Das Spiel seines Lebens See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Severely beautiful !
7 January 2011 | by kartriter88See all my reviews

I went for this movie at the Pune International Film Festival today. I'd half agreed only because my friend said it had Jens Lehmann in it, and basically I love sports movies.

But Themba is so much more than a soccer movie. Its not the best movie ever made, but its certainly an exhilarating experience, right from the beautiful east-cost South African coast line to the laid back Capetown. Truly, one of the line of those excellent African world cinema features, read Hotel Rwanda, Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond , et al. Themba is an extremely talented young boy who lives in beautiful countryside South Africa with his mom and sister. The life is extremely poverty ridden and diseased.

But, despite a string of despairing events and hardships, Themba wants to keep fighting for his dream to represent the South African national football team - the Bafana Bafana. The movie also sends out a lots've messages, especially focusing on HIV, and the situation in Africa.

Themba is in no way very original, and we've all seen movies about achieving dreams despite adversity, but its beautifully strung together, and the locations and filming are out of the world. Its a sweet little story, but truly a very strong one at that. Watch it for just going through the essence of mesmerizing cinematography once again.

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