Dusi race inspires feature film

Dubbed as one of the world’s toughest river races, the three-day long race, which runs along the Msunduzi and Mgeni rivers, over a total distance of 120km, is set to feature in a locally produced film, Beyond the River, which hits the big screen on April 28 this year.

Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi, Beyond the River delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit. The film stars screen legend, Grant Swanby (Blood Diamond, Mandela-Long Walk to Freedom and Invictus) as Steve, and Lemogang Tsipa (When We Were Black, Traffic! and Jab), who makes his debut lead role as Duma.

Duma is a talented young man who feels trapped by his circumstances and finds himself on the wrong side of the law. After another near miss with the cops, Duma is forced back into the world of canoeing, and in so doing his passion and dream to paddle the Dusi is reignited. When Steve’s long-time partner decides to paddle with someone else, he is stuck without someone to complete his 15th Dusi and possibly win his 10th gold medal. After some convincing, he agrees to give Duma a shot. But there are a few things they must overcome - one is struggling to break out of a life of crime and poverty - the other is dealing with a marriage on the verge of collapse. Somewhere along their journey, both on and off the river, their lives change forever.

Written and directed by Craig Freimond, the beautifully shot film, which showcases some of South Africa’s spectacular KwaZulu-Natal landscapes, is produced by award-winning film makers Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion, and Quizzical Pictures. The movie has been funded by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation and the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission and sponsored by Discovery Health, Vodacom and Adreach. Two books, published by Pan Macmillan; Beyond the River, adapted from the film and part of Heartlines’ What’s Your Story book series and Confluence, Cruickshanks’ true story of his journey with Ntondini, will be released alongside the film.

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