Jozi Kings

Review by Prince Adewale Oreshade

As the Yoruba coinage, ‘oraisa’ is to ‘all right sir’, so is the film, Jozi Kings, to the life of the Nigerian street hustler in Johannesburg. The movie shows the life of Chuks, King of Jozi, with a story line that is undoubtedly remarkable. Considering the title of the film however, whether or not Chuks and his fellow hustlers eventually live as kings is doubtful. The movie tells of how these men are continuously thrown flat on their backs every time they attempt to rise. At the end of the day, only Chuks seems to be deserving of the label of king. Perhaps the title The Rise and Fall of Jozi Kings, would have been better suited to the movie.

In the movie, the ghetto is depicted as it really is, from its grimy streets to the residents’ use of language – a juxtaposition of English, Pidgin, Igbo and Zulu. There is even the occasional ‘bomb’ (grammatical error), so as to make obvious the fact that these men are uneducated.

The film’s cinematographic quality reveals superb directing and producing; the songs are well chosen, aptly depicting the different moods in each scene.

Nevertheless, there are some parts of the film that still baffle, such as a disappearing chief and a ‘ghost baby’, one who’s voice and face are neither heard nor seen during the course of the movie. Another is the fact that Chuks never makes an attempt to visit or call his home country. This is uncharacteristic of the average Nigerian immigrant, who likes to touch base with home. Very typical however, is the unspoken ‘actor no dey die’ rule, which is well adhered to by the script writer, Justice Umeh!

All in all Jozi Kings is a wonderful tale – a deviation from the Nollywood formula, and a true story that needs to be told.

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