Movie Review: 'Vaya' stands out for portraying Jozi, warts, beauty & all

Director Akin Omotoso's ‘Vaya’ treads a well-trodden path with its 'Big City dreams turn sour' plot

10 September 2017 - 00:00 By Pearl Boshomane

Jimmy comes to Joburg is a tale as old as time, one as cliched as the phrase used in this sentence. The story of a naive, well-intentioned someone from a rural someplace who makes their way to the Big City only to be dizzied by all the lights has been told countless times across different mediums.
"Jimmy comes to Joburg" is a phrase I grew up hearing but until recently had no clue that it referred to the title of the film Jim Comes to Jo'burg from 1949, one of the first full-length features made in South Africa.
Now, nearly seven decades later, director Akin Omotoso brings the idea of Jimmy backto the big screen, but instead of focusing on one story, Vaya weaves together threenarratives of people who arrive in Johannesburg on the same day, each for a different reason.

In Zanele's case, she also learns the always painful lesson that just because something glitters, doesn't mean it is gold.
The film, as it states in the beginning, is "based on real stories". And it is true that alot of the tales are familiar. Heck, some of the characters might remind you of someoneyou know.
One of the most notable performances is from Nomonde Mbusi, who plays Thobeka.She was a famous singer back home and moved to Joburg to make it with her "angelicvoice".
But, as she tells Zanele, there are hundreds of angelic voices in Johannesburg - she was just part of the chorus. Bitter, battered yet proud and a survivor, she steals every scene shes in. Thobeka is equal parts despicable and heartbreaking.
The film also introduces a new talent in Azwile Chamane-Madiba (Zodwa). Eventhough shes silent for the first part of the film, she has a strong presence...

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