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TIFF 2021: “Good Madam”


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Unfortunately, the impact of social injustice and systematic racism is big. Especially for those who were enslaved not just as laborers, but within their minds too, when some believed it’s their destiny that cannot change.

Directed by Jenna Cato Bass and co-written with Babalwa Baartman, “Mlungu Wam” (Good Madam) follows Tsidi (Chumisa Cosa) and her daughter who are forced to move into a house where her mother Mavis (Nosipho Mtebe) lives, as she continues serving her white boss, mysterious Madam. The property owned by Diane (Jennifer Boraine) has strict rules – no running around, no touching the fridge, no using the pool alone. The most important one – do not enter Madam’s room. As the mother and daughter duo try to follow the rules, the painful past begins to attack Tsidi as if it were a tsunami, bringing all the traumatized memories to life.

The film questions the aspect of Africa’s colonial history, as Tsidi questions her mother’s motives while Mavis continues serving her white boss with such dedication and fear, as if she was living during the enslavement period. Tsidi tries to convince her mother to stop working for the mysterious woman and leave. However, Tsidi herself must fight her demons, as she, while remaining in the same house, remembers all the violence, suppression and brutality that occurred under the same roof she resides in right now.

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