'Surviving R Kelly' doccie maker wants Thando Hopa to star in SA tale

24 November 2019 - 00:04 By KYLE ZEEMAN
Thando Hopa could play the lead in a film based on the works of SA-born author Bessie Head.
Thando Hopa could play the lead in a film based on the works of SA-born author Bessie Head.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

Award-winning Surviving R Kelly producer Dream Hampton has sparked conversation and social change around the world with her advocacy and now plans to bring a South African story to life with the help of celebrated model and lawyer Thando Hopa.

Hampton has been infatuated with stories of South Africa-born author Bessie Head since reading Head's classic novel Maru two decades ago, and had always dreamt of working on a film based on the author's writing. She saw a fulfilment of that dream project when she met Hopa last year, and earmarked her to play the lead role in her film.

Hopa was honoured on the BBC's list of the 100 most influential women last year, and in April became the first person with albinism to appear on the international cover of Vogue.

"I have been talking to Thando Hopa about playing the lead in this film. I have wanted to do it since 1996, but after meeting Thando it is something I really want to work on," Hampton said.

She would not divulge details of the project, including which of Head's works she was looking to for inspiration or when it would be released.

Hampton was recently in SA as her latest project, Finding Justice, was showing at the Joburg Film Festival.

The documentary explores inequality in the US through several themes, including police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement and the experiences of black people in US prisons.

Hampton said her battle against injustice started as a 12-year-old girl joining the fight against apartheid.

"I became political because of SA. One of my first real awarenesses of injustice was when I learnt about apartheid and activists who were organising protests against it."

At 19 she wrote a moving piece in the world-renowned The Source magazine in defence of Winnie Mandela, and counts her among her heroes.

Surviving R Kelly is based on decades-long allegations of sexual abuse against the R&B star and features over 50 interviews with women who allege to have been sexually and physically abused by him.

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