Khabonina Qubeka as Dora
Khabonina Qubeka as Dora in Dora's Peace. (Image: Dora's Peace on Facebook)

Shot on location in Johannesburg, new crime drama Dora's Peace hits local cinemas on 26 August - a fitting Women's Month release for a movie featuring plenty of local female talent both on screen and behind the scenes.

Dora's Peace tells the gripping, moving story of a Hillbrow prostitute on the wrong side of 40 who takes up the cause of a gifted 12-year-old boy in danger of being sucked into the world of violent crime - and in the process, is forced to confront aspects of her humanity she thought she'd left behind her.

Khabonina Qubeka, best known for her role as Nina Zamdela on SABC3 soapie drama Isidingo, takes on her first movie lead role as the hooker who thinks she's seen it all.

Safta and Naledi-nominated multiple times for her roles in Muvhango, The Lab, The Wild and Rhythm City, Qubeka is a familiar face on South African television. In Dora's Peace, however, she embraces a challenge of a new order.

A woman forced into a situation not of her own making

Hlubi Moya as Connie
Hlubi Moya as Connie in Dora's Peace. (Image: Dora's Peace on Facebook)

Screenwriter Andrew Herold describes Dora as "a prostitute on her last legs work-wise, forced into a situation not of her own making, and in the process discovering hidden parts of herself.

"Many prostitutes have families, even children, whom they support by sending money home," says Herold. "I wanted Dora to be different - a woman with no children, who perhaps could not even have children - put into the situation of protecting a child. This gave Dora a real sense of purpose and began to define her as a character."

Third on the cast list, after Qubeka and Danny Keogh, is Hlubi Moya, who plays the part of Connie, Dora's neighbour and the mother of 12-year-old Peace - and deep in the mire of drug addiction.

Moya, familiar to local TV audiences as Nandipha in the soapie Isidingo, has appeared in a number of local and international feature films, including How To Steal 2 Million, Death Race 3 and iNumber Number. She has travelled through Africa as an HIV/Aids ambassador, and was chosen to be the first black woman (non-model) to grace the cover of Elle magazine.



Women's input behind the camera

Dora's Peace also benefited from female input from behind the camera, with Gaby Mariola co-producing and Jolandi and Nerine Pienaar taking care of wardrobe.

Mariola, with her bookkeeping background, was pivotal in raising funds at critical moments in the production process. This is her first feature film as producer, and not her last - she is currently developing two new feature films together with her husband, Kosta Kalarytis, who directed Dora's Peace.

Jolandi and Nerine, talking about their costume choices for the main character, said they originally went with a sexy, bold style for Dora, "but at the same time we wanted something that reflected her tough life.

"The director also emphasised the colour red for this character, and this is carried throughout the film until she comes into contact with the character of Peace, who softens her as the story unfolds, so we introduced a softer pastel look to her wardrobe to symbolise this."

Dora's Peace was produced by One Man Band in association with The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Gauteng Film Commission (GFC).

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission