In his latest film “Vaya,” Nigerian-born director Akin Omotoso explores the themes of migration and coming of age.

“Vaya” tells the story of three strangers who get on a train, each of them with a mission to fulfill in Johannesburg. They’re coming from Durban to Johannesburg. They never meet, but their stories are intertwined,” Omotoso explained.

Each traveler has a mission. A young man is promised a job that is not what he expected. Another is sent to reclaim his father’s body — a task that is surprisingly difficult. A young woman escorts a young girl to her family in the city. Each faces rejection, abuse or violence.

The film came from the real-life stories of South Africans in the Homeless Writers Project, a workshop for people living on the streets of Johannesburg.

Vaya means “to go” in the Tsotsitaal dialect used in South African townships.

“It takes on several meanings. So, ‘to go’ — they’re leaving Durban to go to Johannesburg. But when they get there, maybe people don’t want you. They want you to go,” Omotoso said.

The director is a migrant himself. He was born in Nigeria, but his family moved to South Africa, where his father, the writer Kole Omotoso, was a professor at the University of the Western Cape. Akin studied drama at the university, and then worked as an actor and director.

“Vaya” is one of 20 movies by filmmakers of color or female directors distributed by Array, a Los Angeles-based collective and distribution company founded by director Ava DuVernay.

“Our purpose is to make sure that audiences have access to films they otherwise would not see, those independent voices that deserve a platform for stories to be told,” said Mercedes Cooper, Array’s director of marketing.

“Vaya” was released in 2016 and has played at international festivals. It opened in U.S. theaters in late October and will stream on Netflix starting Nov. 1. Omotoso said many can relate to this story.

“I always say everyone has a cousin who’s arriving, or a brother who’s leaving, or somebody who’s coming,” he said. “So, “Vaya” is able to tap into something that doesn’t just happen in Johannesburg.”

The film taps into universal themes, notes Omotoso, such as the search for a better life and the struggle for survival.

“It’s a thrilling ride when you start to put together the mystery of what’s going on.”

Mike O’Sullivan / VOA NEWS

Facebook Comments

About author

Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 11220 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

You might also like

Lockdown death: Police watchdog’s handling of Cape Town case reveals deep flaws

*This article was originally published by Viewfinder and GroundUpA 55-year-old Ravensmead man died on the first day of the national Covid-19 lockdown, shortly after being assaulted by police, eyewitnesses say. An autopsy found “heart failure” to be the cause of death. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) decision to clear police of wrongdoing – because…

Zuma’s lawyers say he is being treated abroad, Parliament apologises for SONA error

Former president Jacob Zuma’s attorneys and his foundation have cleared the air over his mooted attendance at this year’s State of the Nation Address, stating emphatically that he is overseas and will not be attending.However, they remained mum on where he was.Parliament and the South African government’s official Twitter accounts on Wednesday tweeted “confirmation” that…

Politics 0 Comments

Nigeria seeks AU intervention on Xenophobic attacks in South Africa

The Nigerian government has called on the African Union, (AU) to intervene in SA xenophobic attacks on black foreigners, particularly  Nigerians. The Nigerian presidency had on Monday called the attention


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply