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               OTELO BURNING
               by James Whyle
               Developed by Cinga Productions
               In association with The NFVF
               Script Editor, Clarence Hamilton
               30th April, 2007
               Oh, no, no, no, it was too cold always 
               (Still the dead one lay moaning) 
               I was much too far out all my life
               And not waving but drowning. - Stevie Smith.
               All dialogue and narration will be in IsiZulu unless
               otherwise indicated, but a few IsiZulu words are used for texture:
               Malume - Uncle. Used generally as a term of respect.
               Ntate - Father. Used generally as a term of respect.
               Umlungus - Whites. 
               Boere - Street word for the police. Literally, in
               Afrikaans, farmers.
               Impimpi - Informer.
 
 

               EXT. JEFFRIES BEACH - DAY

               The time of story telling. Now.

               NEW YEAR, burly, wise beyond his years, stands on the
               deserted beach.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         My name is New Year Tshabalala,
                         and I am going to tell you the
                         story of my friend, Otelo
                         Buthelezi, who was the greatest
                         surfer I have ever seen.

               New Year watches as...

               An old, rusted cool drink CAN is tumbled in the backwash.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. JEFFRIES BEACH - DAY

               TITLE: South Africa, 1994

               Sports branding flags flutter in the off shore breeze that
               is banking the Indian Ocean swell into three meter
               monsters.

               Big heaves of energy, mountains on the flow, building the
               water into sheer walls that reach for heaven... 

               ...curl down in tubes of foam.

               An MC sits at a stand next to the judges, grinning into the
               microphone.

                                   MASTER OF CEREMONIES
                         The surf's getting big, ladies
                         and gentlemen. 

               The MC confers with the judges next to him. The crowd in
               the background, the surfers and groupies, the proud parents
               and little sisters, are all white.

               The MC turns back to the mike.

                                   MASTER OF CEREMONIES (CONT'D)
                         And um... we are just going to be
                         conferring about safety out
                         there... 

               A swell grows, reaching for the vertical.

                                   MASTER OF CEREMONIES (CONT'D)
                         But I promise you, while the
                         surfers are out of the water, the
                         entertainment will not stop.

               Surfers in the competition area, blonde blue eyed boys,
               tend their boards.

               The swell grows.

               Small white kids gather round a black ICE CREAM SELLER, a
               middle-aged black man.

                                   KID
                         This change is wrong.

                                   ICE CREAM MAN
                         Is right change!

                                   KID
                         Give me eighty-three cents or
                         I'll tell my father.

               The swell builds, becoming a wave, rising into a sheer
               wall.

               Spume flying from the lip.

               A surfer's board moves aside, revealing TAU MODISE. 

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         Tau and Otelo and me were Zulu
                         boys from a township called
                         Little Jozi. 

               Tau is eighteen years old, black, slight and contained,
               neat, his muscles honed by sustained days in the surf. He
               stares out at the wave.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         If it wasn't for Tau, me and
                         Otelo would probably never have
                         touched a surf board in our
                         lives.

               Tau's hand caresses his NDUMBI ARROW BOARD. It is his
               lover, a talisman bought at a price incalculable.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         The first time we surfed a
                         competition, we hardly even knew
                         the rules.

               A wave, the wave, rising into a sheer wall, spume flying
               from the lip.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         The last time we surfed, we
                         didn't care.

               Tau looks up along the beach.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         At least, Otelo didn't.

               The sound of the wave, a coming tsunami.

               OTELO BUTHELEZI, eighteen, walks up the beach towards Tau.
               He is a man-boy, built in the shape of a god, a young
               Mandela. 

               The wave growing. Slow as a flower. 

               Opening. 

               Roaring.

               On Otelo's right the stands, the bright, white people.

               The branding: Gunston 500. Life Cigarettes. Vote
               Toothpaste.

               The wave, growing.

               Tau, waiting for him.

               Otelo'S hand going into the bag that hangs at his side.

               Tau staring, watching him come.

               The wave... building.

               Otelo's hand in the bag, gripping...

                                                             FADE TO:

               EXT. JEFFRIES BEACH - DAY

               The present. New Year alone on the same beach, desolate and
               deserted now.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         The umlungus used to call us non
                         swimmers.

               New Year looks up towards the horizon.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         But we learnt anyway, and in the
                         end, Otelo became the king.

                                                             FADE TO:

               EXT. JEFFRIES BEACH - DAY

               In New Year's mind's eye, Otelo paddles, a huge swell
               building behind him.

               The waves lifts him. 

               Otelo stands, walks on the wave.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         The first time we got in the
                         water, me and Otelo were sixteen. 

               Otelo cuts back, climbing, conquering the slope. 

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (beat)
                         We went to the river because were
                         curious, because Otelo's father
                         was always telling us that it was
                         dangerous. 
                             (beat)
                         He said there was a snake that
                         lived underneath the water of the
                         river. 

               The curtain of breaking wave closes over Otelo.

               He's gone, obscured in the tube.

                                                             FADE TO:

               EXT. JEFFRIES BEACH - DAY

               At New Year's feet, the old rusted FANTA CAN is sucked back
               out.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         The snake was long as a telephone
                         pole, thick as a cow's head. If
                         you went too deep, the snake
                         would call you. It would sing to
                         you like a beautiful girl. 

               The can dances in the undertow, sucked out, down, under.

               New Year stares at the waters.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         Then it would take you.

               The sea is vast, desolate, empty of any surfer.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. RIVER - DAY

               TITLE: LITTLE JOZI, 1992

               OTELO and NEW YEAR (both sixteen years old) and NTWE,
               Otelo's eleven year old brother, run through the river
               bush.

               Otelo is in the lead as they leap down the path, jump a
               fallen log, and break out onto the bank.

               They stand there, wide-eyed.

               The river is deep, mysterious. 

               They listen to the silent power, the pull of the sea. 

               In the centre, over the deepest channel, the force of the
               current pushes up in a boil over a submerged rock.

               Ntwe grins.

                                   NTWE
                         Let's get in, Otelo.

               Otelo cuffs him on the back of his head. 

                                   NTWE (CONT'D)
                             (outraged)
                         What you doing?

               Otelo looks at New Year, shaking his head: fucking kid.

               Ntwe jumps down the bank, runs to the water's edge. 

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         Otelo's brother was always
                         different. He had to wear a band
                         on his arm because of medicines
                         he was not allowed to take.

               Ntwe starts to walk in, the water rising to his knees.

                                   OTELO
                         Ntwe!

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         The teachers at school said they
                         couldn't teach him because he
                         wrote his letters backwards.

               Otelo jumps the bank, runs in, grabs Ntwe by his ragged
               collar.

                                   OTELO 
                         Hey.
                             (beat)
                         Remember Ntate's dream!

               They stare at the river. 

               It it silent.

               Ominous.

                                   NTWE
                         There's no snake.

                                   OTELO
                             (to New Year)
                         New Year, this kid thinks knows
                         everything.

               A beat. 

               New Year starts taking off his shirt.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (grins)
                         It's  hot, Mpowethu.

                                   NTWE
                         We going in the water!

                                   OTELO
                         Wait!

               Otelo goes into his pocket, taking out an empty FANTA
               ORANGE CAN. He holds it up. 

               They know what it means.

               New Year nods - throw it.

               Otelo throws the can.

               They watch as...

               The can is sucked out...

               They move down the bank with it.

               The can whirls in an eddy, thrown back towards the
               shallows.

                                   NTWE
                         It came back!

               New Year grins starts to take off his shirt.

               Otelo stares out at the silent, surging river as...

               The Fanta can is sucked out again. Out, and under...

                                   OTELO 
                         It's gone!

               Ntwe splashes Otelo with water.

               New Year joins in.

               A beat, then Otelo, laughing, pursues Ntwe.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. RIVER - DAY

               New Year stands holding a log. A game has developed - tempt
               the current.

               Otelo and Ntwe wait downstream. 

               New Year throws the log.

               The current swirls, pulling the log downstream.

               Otelo steps deeper as the log approaches him. He reaches...

                                   NTWE
                         Get it! Get it!

               Otelo feels with a foot. The bottom drops away. He steps
               back, afraid.

                                   OTELO
                         It'll come in closer lower down.

               Ntwe reaches for the log...

               ...which hovers out of reach.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Leave it, Ntwe.

               New Year and Otelo run downstream.

               Ntwe steps forward, out of his depth. 

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (shouts)
                         It will come in lower down.

                                   OTELO
                         Down by the bend. Past the rocks. 

               No answer from Ntwe. They look back.

               The broad stream is empty, sinister, silent.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe?

               The stream is slick as oil.

               The log swirls towards the rocks.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe?

               The log, swift on the current...

               Stops, lodging against a rock.

               Otelo's eyes are locked with New Year's.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (shouts)
                         Ntwe?

               Ntwe surfaces, struggles.

                                   OTELO 
                         There he is!

               New Year turns.

               But there is only current. 

               The log working loose from the rocks.

               Otelo runs down the bank.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe?

               Ntwe surfaces, struggles.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         There! You'll get him at the
                         rocks.

                                   OTELO
                         Keep your head up!

               Ntwe tumbles downstream.

               Otelo, opposite the rocks, wades in.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Hold on.

               Ntwe crashes into the rocks and scrabbles for a hold. 

               The rock surface is slick and smooth.

               Otelo, terrified, wades, water coming up to his chest. He
               reaches out his hand.

               The current tugs at Ntwe, nearly dislodging him. He clings
               to the rock.

                                   OTELO 
                         Ntwe, give me your hand!

               Ntwe starts to obey. His COPPER BAND, "allergic to
               penicillin", glints on his wrist.

               Otelo loses his footing. Goes under.

               Ntwe loses his grip. 

               New Year pulls Otelo back.

               Ntwe's head crashes against a rock as the current swirls
               him down stream, tumbling...

               Otelo and New Year sprint through the shallows.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                         Ntwe!

               Ntwe floats, head down.

               New Year wades in, reaching. He grasps at Ntwe's pants.
               Grips. 

               Loses his footing.

               New Year and Ntwe are washed down stream.

               Otelo sprints down the bank.

               New Year, still gripping Ntwe, crashes into a submerged
               tree, goes under.

                                   OTELO
                         New Year!

               New Year wraps a leg around a branch. Gripping Ntwe with
               one hand, he struggles to the surface.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Get his head up.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         I can't.

               Otelo looks at the bank.

               New Year, struggling to get Ntwe to the surface, goes
               under.

               Otelo breaks off a branch, rips the bark free of the trunk.

               New Year comes up, elbow crooked under Ntwe's chin.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                         He's not breathing!

               Otelo holds out the branch.

               The current tugs on New Year.

                                   OTELO
                         Grab it.

               To get the branch, New Year must release the tree.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Grab it.

               New Year lunges for the branch, grasping it.

               Otelo steps towards the bank, pulling New Year and Ntwe
               with him.

               New Year's feet hit the bottom.

               Otelo and New Year pull Ntwe out until his upper body is
               clear of the water.

               Ntwe lies, eyes open, lifeless.

               Otelo shakes him.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe.

               Nothing.

               Otelo lifts his brother and thumps him down.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe!

               He lifts his fists and bangs them down on Ntwe's chest.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe!

               A gush of water jumps from Ntwe'S lungs.

               Otelo thumps him on the chest.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Come back.

               He thumps him again.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         Come back.

               They stare down at the child.

               Otelo leans into his chest. 

               Sits back, giving up.

               Ntwe coughs up water. Breathes.

               Looks at them for a long time.

               Grins.

                                   NTWE
                         I told you there was no snake.

               Otelo is caught between relief and laughter and rage. 

               But it is the laughter that wins.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. OTELO'S HOUSE - EVENING

               A half empty quart of Castle Milk Stout topples as...

               OSCAR BUTHELEZI, a big, grizzled, middle-aged man slides
               out from beneath the engine of his taxi.

               STEMBISO NDLOVU, burly, handsome, thirties, catches the
               bottle, holds out a small, rusty tin.

                                   STEMBISO 
                         Ntate says you must put it on the
                         steering wheel and on the wheels.

                                   OSCAR
                             (drinks)
                         Will it work for the comrades and
                         Inkatha?

                                   STEMBISO
                         It will protect from everyone.

                                   OSCAR
                             (beat)
                         Tell your father, I say thank
                         you.

                                   STEMBISO
                         I will tell him.

               Oscar glances towards the house, frowning.

                                   OSCAR
                         Otelo, Ntwe. 

               The brothers, sneaking in, are busted.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         Come here.

                                   OTELO
                             (respectful)
                         I see you, father.

               Oscar rises, spanner in hand.

                                   OSCAR
                         Where you been?

                                   OTELO
                         With New Year.

                                   OSCAR
                         I didn't say, with who. 
                             (beat)
                         I said, where?
                             (beat)
                         Two years, you'll be old enough
                         to get a licence. Then you
                         driving a taxi. Not wasting your
                         time fooling around.
                             (beat)
                         Why is you skin grey?

               Ntwe can't help himself. It just pops out of him.

                                   NTWE
                         There is no snake.

                                   OSCAR
                         What?

               Otelo looks at his brother: shut the fuck up!

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         You've been in the river?

                                   OTELO
                         I'm sorry, Ntate.

               Oscar raises his hand and cuffs Otelo.

                                   OSCAR 
                         I dream of him drowning, and you
                         take him to the river?

                                   NTWE
                         I didn't drown. There is no
                         snake.

                                   OTELO
                         We were just playing. Just where
                         it's shallow. Ntwe slipped.

               Oscar cuffs him.

               Otelo's eyes glisten with tears of rage. His fist clenches.

                                   OSCAR
                         What?
                             (beat)
                         You want to fight?

               Oscar hits him.

               Otelo tries to block the blow.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         You want to fight?

               Otelo does. But he can't.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Send them to me, Malume. I'll
                         teach them to swim.

                                   OSCAR
                             (to Otelo)
                         You want to fight?

               Oscar swings a heavy arm back.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         Ntwe...

               Oscar hits Otelo.

               Blood starts from Otelo's lip.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         Never...

               Oscar hits him.

               Otelo's knees sag.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         Goes...

               Hits him.

               Otelo goes down on his knees.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         Into...

               Oscar kicks him.

               Otelo bleeds, falls.

                                   OSCAR (CONT'D)
                         The water.

               Oscar kicks. 

               Blood squirts on his foot.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Malume.

                                   OSCAR
                         What?

                                   STEMBISO
                         You'll injure the child.
                             (beat)
                         Send them to me.
                             (beat)
                         I'll teach them to swim.

                                                              CUT TO:

               INT. MA CHRISTMAS'S SHEBEEN - NIGHT

               MA CHRISTMAS, laughing in the roar of the crowded shebeen.
               She's in her forties. A big, good looking woman, gone to
               seed.

               She has been backed into a corner of the room by a DRUNK
               MAN with sex on the mind.

                                   MAN # 1
                         Come on, Ma Christmas. Just
                         quickly. Your kids can take the
                         money.

               A gangster in a wheel chair, BRA CHILL, and his cronies,
               SLANG, GATSHA and VIOLENCE, are amused.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         Give him a little fun, Ma
                         Christmas.

                                   VIOLENCE
                         Give him some entertainment.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         The people of Little Jozi called
                         my mother Ma Christmas from the
                         time she got drunk and allowed
                         free beer on Christmas Day.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                             (to Man)
                         You want it, you can wait.

                                   MAN # 1
                         I don't want to wait.

               BLADE puts a hand on the man's shoulder, pulls him round.

                                   BLADE
                         It's my mother. Have respect.

                                   MAN # 1
                         Respect?

                                   BLADE
                         We don't like Inkatha here.

               Ma Christmas slips out of the corner.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                         New Year, Dezi! I told you to
                         clear the empties.

               New Year and DEZI (fifteen, pretty), are slumped,
               exhausted, at a table.

                                   DEZI
                         It's twelve o'clock, Ma. We got
                         school tomorrow.

               Ma Christmas picks her up by the ear.

                                   DEZI (CONT'D)
                         Ow.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                         Empties.

               New Year picks up an empty beer crate.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Here.

               Dezi, sulking, begins to load bottles.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         Ma Christmas was just as hard to
                         convince about swimming as
                         Otelo's father.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                         You eat because of the shebeen.
                         How are you going to live if you
                         don't know how to run this place?

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Why doesn't Blade run it?

               Ma Christmas looks across at...

               Blade. Laughing. Right up there in Man # 1's face.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                         Blade has his own things to do.
                         You know that. He contributes.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         It's just swimming, Ma. For one
                         hour a day.

                                   MA CHRISTMAS 
                         Why can't you just leave these
                         things alone?

                                   DEZI
                         It's with Stembiso!

                                   MA CHRISTMAS
                             (astonished)
                         You also want to go?

                                   DEZI
                         Yes, Ma!

                                   BLADE
                             (OFF SCREEN)
                         We don't like Inkatha here.

               Glass shatters.

               They turn, looking.

               Slow as a flower opening, Blade slashes a broken bottle
               across Man # 1's face.

               Man # 1, pulsing blood, staggers back against the wall.

                                                              CUT TO:

               INT. POOL - DAY

               Brown young bodies in the air.

               Flying.

               Sailing.

               Traversing the blue sky.

               Parting the water.

               So pure.

               Azure.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O)
                         I knew we would succeed with the
                         swimming, because it was Stembiso
                         who controlled the pool.

               Stembiso walks, tracking the swimmers.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         Everyone in Little Jozi respected
                         Stembiso. Stembiso was his own
                         man, and his father, Ntate
                         Ndlovu, was an Igqira, a shaman.

               Teen age girls relax on the grass, gossiping, laughing.

               Otelo, New Year, Dezi and Ntwe, wide-eyed, excited, wait
               for Stembiso's attention.

               The water sparkles.

               Swimmers cleave the blue.

               TAU MODISE, sixteen years old, brushes past Otelo, New Year
               and Ntwe...

               ...runs towards the pool.

               Ntwe watches as...

               Tau flies, somersaulting...

               ...enters, slowly, into the water.

               Sliding in. 

               A knife.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                         Who is that guy?

                                   OTELO
                         Stembiso's cousin.

               He swims, deep down in the silence, across the path of the
               training swimmers.

               The boys watch.

               Tau surfaces, grinning, on the other side.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Tau! Out.

                                   TAU
                         Sorry, Malume.

               Ntwe tugs at Stembiso'S sleeve.

                                   NTWE
                         Ntate?
                             (he's ignored)
                         Ntate?

                                   STEMBISO 
                         What is it?

                                   NTWE
                             (re Tau)
                         I want to be like that.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. POOL - DAY

               Otelo and New Year, trailed by Dezi and Ntwe, are panting
               as they circuit the pool, running. It's hot, and they are
               wet with sweat.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         One thing that growing up in
                         Little Jozi taught me, is that
                         you must be careful what you wish
                         for. Because you never know how
                         it is going to come true.

                                   NTWE
                         Can't we stop now, Malume? We've
                         been running for an hour!

                                   STEMBISO
                         I'll tell you when you can stop.

                                   NTWE
                             (to Otelo)
                         What's running got to do with
                         swimming.

               Stembiso ignores them.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         For the first week, running was
                         all we did.
                         Then, on the seventh day, like
                         God, Stembiso gave us a break.

                                                              CUT TO:

               INT. POOL/CHANGING ROOM - DAY

               Otelo, New Year, Dezi and Ntwe, sweating, are down on their
               knees scrubbing the floor.

                                   OTELO
                         If we don't do it properly we
                         never going to get into the
                         water.

                                   NTWE
                         I am doing it properly.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         It was two weeks before we were
                         allowed into that cool, clean,
                         blue freedom.

                                                             CUT  TO:

               EXT. POOL - DAY

               Sunlight sparkles on the water. The meniscus on its surface
               is a threshold, a tender membrane separating this world
               from heaven.

               Stembiso blows his whistle.

               Tau and two other trainers, RISKY and TORTOISE, join
               Stembiso in the shallow end.

               The beginner's class, including Otelo, New Year, Dezi and
               Ntwe, are ready and eager.

                                   STEMBISO 
                             (getting in)
                         Get in next to your trainers.

               All obey, except Otelo.

                                   STEMBISO (CONT'D)
                             (to Otelo)
                         In the pool.

               Otelo grapples with his fear.

                                   TAU
                         Scared?

               Otelo stares at Tau for a beat. 

               Then he jumps in.

                                   STEMBISO
                         First thing is the kick. Take the
                         edge of the pool in your hands,
                         and kick like this.

               Stembiso demonstrates.

               The class, with varying success, practise their kicking.

                                   STEMBISO (CONT'D)
                         You not running, Ntwe. In the
                         water, you don't run.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         Then, suddenly... we were
                         swimming.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. POOL - DAY

               New Year swimming. Not bad, but every time he wants to
               breathe, he stops the stroke and lifts his head straight up
               out of the water.

               Ntwe swims like a windmill, making little progress through
               the water.

               Otelo, swimming well, bar a few quirks.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         Later, after the change, the
                         Umlungu's used to make jokes
                         about non-swimmers getting the
                         vote.
                         But in Little Jozi, there were
                         many swimmers. Because of
                         Stembiso. And because the pool
                         was the best place to be.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. POOL - DAY

               Dezi and the girls hanging out at the pool. They are
               watching Tau, who is working with a class, doing press ups.

                                   GIRL
                         He's hot.

               Dezi, thoughtful, watches Tau.

                                                              CUT TO:

               Ntwe jumps into the deep end and sinks.

               Girls scream.

               Tau jumps in.

               Ntwe surfaces. Doggy paddles.

                                   NTWE
                         I can do it. I can do it.

               Tau pulls him to the side.

                                   STEMBISO
                         What the hell you doing?
                             (to Otelo)
                         Didn't your father tell you to
                         watch him all the time?

                                   OTELO
                         Sorry, Malume.

                                   STEMBISO
                             (to Ntwe)
                         Get out. Give me a hundred sit
                         ups.

                                   NTWE
                             (climbing out)
                         I can do two hundred.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Show me.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         Stembiso was a hard man, but he
                         also knew when hard work must be
                         rewarded. For the swimming club,
                         the reward came when Stembiso
                         decided to braai.

                                                              CUT TO:

               INT. POOL - EVENING

               Flames leap in the halved 44 gallon drum. A portable tape
               player pumps out township jive.

               Otelo, Tau and New Year put some parcels of meat down on a
               rickety table.

                                   OTELO
                         There is two rand fifty three
                         change. Where is Stembiso?

                                   TAU
                         In his office.
                             (beat)
                         Man!

               Tau is grinning across at...

               Dezi, who stands with some girls. Ma Christmas has allowed
               Dezi to dress up. She's looking stunning. The girls are
               giggling about the boys, hips swaying to the jive.

                                   OTELO
                         What.

                                   TAU
                             (to New Year)
                         You got a cute sister.
                             (beat)
                         And we are going party tonight!

               The pool door creaks open.

               Bra Chill, pushed by Slang, rolls in on his wheel chair.
               Violence and Gatsha following.

               Conversations stop. Heads turn towards the gangsters.

                                   OTELO
                             (quiet)
                         What do they want here?

               Dezi, silent, watches as...

               Bra Chill rolls towards the braai.

                                   BRA CHILL
                             (to New Year)
                         You Blade's brother?

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Yes.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         How come you have a party, you
                         don't call Bra Chill?

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Dunno.

                                   OTELO
                             (beat)
                         It's for pool club only.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         Says who?

                                   OTELO
                         Stembiso.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         You tell Stembiso the party is
                         for everyone now.

                                   TAU 
                             (calls)
                         Ste?

               Bra Chill spots Dezi and the girls.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         Party is for everyone.
                             (grins)
                         Girls are for Bra Chill.

                                   TAU
                             (louder)
                         Stembiso?

                                   BRA CHILL
                             (to Slang; pointing at
                              Dezi)
                         Lets go.

               Slang rolls Bra Chill forward.

               Tau steps into his path.

                                   TAU
                         Ste?

                                   BRA CHILL 
                         Out of my way, dog.

               Otelo, shadowed by New Year and Ntwe, steps up, standing at
               Tau's shoulder.

                                   BRA MEAT
                         Out my way.

                                   OTELO
                         He's not a dog.

               Slang pushes Otelo in the chest.

                                   GATSHA
                         Watch your mouth, pretty boy.

                                   NTWE
                             (to Bra Chill)
                         You want steal our meat like a
                         dog.

                                   OTELO
                         Ntwe!

               Slang cuffs Ntwe, knocking him over.

               Otelo pushes Slang in the chest.

               Slang back hands Otelo.

               Ntwe dives at Slang, sinks his teeth into muscular thigh.

                                   SLANG
                         Fuck off, you little shit!

               Slang takes Ntwe by the throat, begins to throttle him.

               Otelo changes into a wild man. He launches himself at
               Slang, thumbs gouging at his eyes.

               Slang goes down, Otelo's hands digging into his wind pipe,
               cutting off all air.

               Otelo bangs Slang's head against concrete.

               Blood spurts.

               The gang falls on Otelo.

               A knife flashes in Violence's hand.

               The boys step back, shocked by the sight of Otelo's blood. 

               Otelo is frozen, animal, ready to launch himself at
               Violence. 

               But the knife hovers, inches from his face.

                                   VIOLENCE 
                             (quiet)
                         I'll fucking disembowel you.

                                   STEMBISO
                         You guys got a problem?

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         No one saw Stembiso come. He was
                         just there.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         You got the problem.
                             (beat)
                         Why you braai without telling us,
                         Ste? Don't you believe in
                         democracy?

               Stembiso ignores them, examines Otelo's wound.

               A long deep cut. A good six stitches worth. Dripping blood.

               Stembiso turns to Violence

                                   STEMBISO
                             (beat)
                         Give me the knife.

                                   VIOLENCE
                         Fuck you, dog.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         You want to talk, talk to me.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Give me the knife.

                                   VIOLENCE
                         Make me.

               Stembiso hits Violence once, hard, in the throat.

               Violence goes down, dropping the knife. He kneels, gagging,
               grasping his throat.

               Stembiso picks up the knife.

               Bra Chill pulls the blanket aside, takes out his gun.
               Points it at Stembiso.

                                   BRA CHILL 
                         This pool is ours now, Ste. No
                         more swimming. Just nice parties
                         for the people.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Give me the gun.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         You want to die?

               Stembiso takes a step towards Bra Chill.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Give me the gun.

                                   BRA CHILL
                         I fucking kill you, Zulu boy.

               Stembiso steps forward again.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Give me the gun.

               Bra Chill pulls the trigger. 

               Once, twice three times. 

               The weapon is jammed.

               Stembiso looks into Bra Chill'S eyes. 

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         It was almost like Stembiso made
                         it happen. Like he wasn't even
                         surprised.

                                   STEMBISO 
                         Give me the gun.

                                   SLANG
                             (awed)
                         It's his father's power.

               The gangsters, silent, watch as...

               Stembiso takes the gun from Bra Chill'S hand.

                                   STEMBISO
                         Go.
                             (beat)
                         Don't come back.

               The gangsters obey.

               The boys gather in a tight group around Otelo.

                                   TAU
                         You must wash this. And bind it.
                         Stembiso has got some bandages
                         and disinfectant.

               They move with Otelo towards Stembiso's office.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         And from that time on, it wasn't
                         two brothers. It was three.
                         Otelo, me, and Tau.

                                   NTWE
                         Stembiso will fix that.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         Three and a half, if you count
                         Ntwe.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. POOL - NIGHT

               Some one hits the button on the portable tape player. A big
               dance sound booms out.

               Blade is opening a case of beers.

                                   STEMBISO
                         What is this?

                                   BLADE
                         Special delivery. From Ma
                         Christmas.

               The girls are jiving to the music. 

               Otelo, his arm bandaged, is far away, staring across the
               pool.

               New Year follows Otelo's eye-line.

               Across the pool, Tau is jiving, shouting in Dezi's ear. 

               Tau looks round, waves to Otelo and New Year. He turns back
               to Dezi, speaks. Dezi laughs. 

               New Year hands Otelo a beer. They drink.

                                                              CUT TO:

               Dezi dances in the crowd. Otelo dances up to her. She
               smiles, moves with him, playful, following his moves,
               improvising on them.

               Tau joins them. For a moment it's a dance threesome, then
               Otelo moves away, and Dezi moves with him.

                                                              CUT TO:

               Otelo pulls a laughing Dezi into the shadows behind the 
               changing room. 

               She puts a hand on his wounded arm. He  winces.

                                   DEZI
                         Sorry.

                                   OTELO
                         It's  fine.

               A beat. She touches the cut on his lip.

                                   DEZI
                         And this?

                                   OTELO
                             (shrugs)
                         My father.

               He stares at  her, reaches up a hand to touch her cheek.
               She takes her hand is his, liking the feel of his palm on
               her skin.

               They kiss. Then Dezi breaks away.

                                   OTELO (CONT'D)
                         What?
                             (beat)
                         I like you.

                                   DEZI
                             (beat)
                         I like you too.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. POOL - NIGHT

               A log flares on the remaining coals of the braai. The party
               is over and only the diehards are left.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         I think maybe Tau did it then,
                         because of Dezi. He thought if
                         Dezi saw what he could do on a
                         wave, he could progress with her.

                                   TAU
                             (beat)
                         You guys want to learn to surf?

               Otelo and New Year are astonished.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (beat)
                         Like the umlungus in Durban?

                                   TAU
                         Sure.

               They stare at him.

                                   OTELO
                         Bullshit.

                                   TAU
                         Come to Ndumbi, where I live.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (beat)
                         You got boards?

                                   TAU
                         Sure.

               They stare at him.

                                   TAU (CONT'D)
                             (to New Year)
                         Bring your sister.

                                   NEW YEAR
                             (V.O.)
                         With some doors, when you go
                         through them, it's forever.
                             (beat)
                         You can never come back.

                                                              CUT TO:

               EXT. SMITH BEACH HOUSE - DAY

               The sea roars. 

               A door swings open. 

               It leads from underneath the Smith beach house onto the
               rocks at the southern end of Ndumbi beach. 

               Tau, carrying his Ndumbi Arrow board steps through.

               Followed by Otelo, New Year, Dezi and Ntwe.

               A swell builds, curving up to the sky, spume flying from
               it's lip, a sea gull gliding, dead still, above the crest.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         I like we had stepped into
                         heaven, into a clean world, that
                         was full of power.

               They stare at the wave, so close you could touch it.

                                   OTELO
                         Shit.

               Tau grins, looks at Dezi.

                                   TAU
                         What do you think?

                                   DEZI
                             (beat)
                         You going to go in there?

                                   TAU
                         Sure.

               Dezi points at a sign that guards the beginning of the
               sand: Net Blankes - Whites Only.

                                   DEZI
                         What about that?

                                   TAU
                         It's not even weekend. Who is
                         going to arrest me?
                             (beat)
                         The sea gulls?

               The gull hangs, swoops, lifts over a towering swell.

               Ntwe touches Tau'S Ndumbi Arrow board.

                                   NTWE
                         How did you get it?

                                   TAU
                         When Uncle Frank got Kevin a
                         board, he gave me one.

                                   NEW YEAR
                         Who is Uncle Frank?

                                   TAU
                         Kevin's father. People I live
                         with.

                                   OTELO
                         Umlungus?

                                   TAU
                         Ja.

               Tau grins, then picks his way forward onto the rocks.

               They watch silent, as he chooses his moment between swells,
               jumps in.

               Tau climbs on the board and begins to paddle, just making
               it over the crest of a wave.

                                   NTWE
                         He's going to die!

                                   OTELO
                         He didn't even throw a can

                                                              CUT TO:

               Tau surfs. His, to the boys, godly, master of the wave and
               the sea.

                                   NEW YEAR 
                             (V.O.)
                         I realized then what people meant
                         when they said we could be free.

               Tau, knees bent, perfectly balanced, turns back up the
               face. Rises slowly up like a bird riding air waves.

                                   NEW YEAR (CONT'D)
                             (V.O.)
                         They meant like the wind. Like
                         the waves.
                             (beat)
                         Like Tau.
 
 

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