Due for release in cinemas on 26 August, new crime drama Dora’s Peace features a strong female cast in roles that highlight the complex circumstances and relationships that women experience in often ruthless urban environments.
The film is about a Hillbrow prostitute who decides to protect a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organised crime and discovers aspects of her own lost humanity in the process.
Directed by Konstandino Kalarytis, Dora’s Peace was shot in Johannesburg and stars Khabonina Qubeka in the title role. Dora is smart and tough, and used to beating the odds by doing things her way, but she also has a good heart. She’s seen it all and done it all. Into her solitary existence comes 12-year old Peace, a talented artist and the son of her down and out neighbour. Before long Dora will be forced to make a decision – protect Peace from the bad guys or let them win. Her only ally is Ravi, a Rasta-loving Indian taxi driver with a wicked sense of humour. What ensues will thrill and chill audiences, as Dora comes up against her hardest opponent yet – her own true nature.
“Dora is the type of strong, unforgettable female lead that audiences love,” says Helen Kuun, of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the film in South Africa. “It’s fitting that the release of the film coincides with National Women’s Month a tribute to the role of women in the struggle for freedom, as Dora represents courage and strength, even in the face of difficult circumstances.”
Khabonina is a familiar face on South African television and has been nominated multiple times for her roles in series including Muvhango, The Lab, The Wild and Rhythm City. Her first TV role was as the controversial Doobsie on SABC 2’s Muvhango and then she quickly followed up with more roles in The Mating Game and Erfsondes. She also acted in the successful theatre production The Table. Currently she is starring as Nina Zamdela in the popular soapie Isidingo on SABC 3. Aside from her television and feature film work, she is also a dancer, presenter and musician. Dora’s Peace sees her take the lead role in a film for the first time.
In the role of Peace’s mother Connie is another well-known female face, Hlubi Moya, probably best known for her role as Nandipha in the successful SABC 3 soapie Isidingo. She has also appeared in a number of local and international feature films, including How to Steal 2 Million, Death Race 3, and the acclaimed iNumber Number.
The ensemble cast includes Danny Keogh (Invictus, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder), Ronnie Nyakale (Jerusalema, Blood Diamond), and 12-year old Paballo Koza (Thola, The Blanket), Molefi Monaisa, Meren Reddy, Denel Honeyball, Israel Makoe, Tinah Mnumzana, Yule Masiteng, Manaka Ranaka, Masilo Magoro, Blessed Boshomane, Omo Kondile, and Sebelethu Bonkolo.
“The film deals with people who inhabit the gangland that is Hillbrow,” says director Kalarytis. “Aspects of my own Greek background and culture are also incorporated, which I don’t think has been done before in a South African movie. In making the film, the most important aspect was the relationship between Dora and the young boy, Peace. By taking on the role of protector and nurturer, she is forced to confront difficult issues about her own life and her past.”