Magazine article Variety

Omotoso's Lens Trains on Gritty City Life in South Africa

Magazine article Variety

Omotoso's Lens Trains on Gritty City Life in South Africa

Article excerpt

VETERAN HELMER AKIN Omotoso returns to Toronto this year with "Vaya," a triptych about life in Johannesburg that world premiered Friday.

Four years after the Toronto debut of his acclaimed "Man on Ground," which dramatized the plight of foreigners in a South Africa wracked by xenophobic violence, Omotoso trains his lens on the harsh underbelly of the gritty metropolis he calls home.

In "Vaya," three small-town travelers arrive in Johannesburg with different hopes and plans, only to discover the hard realities of life "when you're not in control of your own destiny," according to Omotoso. The film stars Sibusiso Msimang, Zimkhitha Nyoka and Sihle Xaba.

For the Nigerian-born actor, writer and director, who's spent more than two decades living in South Africa, "Vaya" strikes a personal chord with its themes of "new spaces, new challenges and new opportunities."

Omotoso finds a fitting backdrop for his work in Johannesburg, an African El Dorado of hustlers and strivers whose Zulu name, eGoli, means "place of gold. …

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