Africa United

With its storyline featuring a group of plucky, poverty-stricken kids trying to survive in a cruel world, Africa United desperately wants to be the next Slumdog Millionaire. Sadly, director Debs Gardner-Paterson is no Danny Boyle and her film lacks the depth and dramatic tension of the multi-Oscar winning film.

The plot focuses on Fabrice (Nsengiyumva), a skillful Rwandan footballer invited to trials for the World Cup opening ceremony in South Africa. When his pint-sized manager Dudu (Ndayambaje) messes up the travel arrangements, causing Fabrice to miss his chance to impress organisers, the duo, plus Dudu’s sister Beatrice (Kintu), travel 4800km to Soccer City.

While the kids encounter wild animals, thugs and disease along the way you never feel they are ever in any great peril, which detracts from their exploits. The film is also about as subtle as a vuvuzela, with Gardner-Paterson taking a heavy-handed approach to Africa’s problems with child prostitution, Aids and refugees.

Fortunately, the young cast members are extremely likeable – Kintu in particular radiates dignity – and there is some cool stop-motion animation that underlines the continent’s love of the beautiful game.


GOOD FOR: Those who miss the World Cup buzz.

Watch the Africa United trailer here.


Review: Pierre De Villers