A train arrives from the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal bringing four people to the vast city of Johannesburg. Zanele, a young dancer, is taking little Zodwa to the girl’s mother Thobeka who, contrary to expectations, has not become a famous singer but runs a bar with her partner. Her own best customer, Thobeka is a rather unpredictable mother. Nhlanhla is pinning all his hopes on his wealthy cousin Xolani who has promised him a job. His naïve confidence is put to an acid test. Finally, Nkulu, who has come to pick up his father’s dead body so that he can be buried at home, finds himself up against some unexpected obstacles. Their paths cross repeatedly during their short stay in this corrupt megacity. The characters’ attitudes to life and the world are fundamentally thrown into question, for nobody is what they seem to be and it’s not always easy to tell good from bad. In his drama Man on Ground (Panorama 2012) director Akin Omotoso chose to portray current events in post-apartheid South Africa; the screenplay for Vaya is similarly based on true stories.
by Akin Omotoso
with Mncedisi Shabangu, Sibusiso Msimang, Sihle Xaba, Warren Masemola, Zimkhitha Nyoka, Nomonde Mbusi, Azwile Chamane
South Africa 2017 Zulu 110’ Colour


  • Mncedisi Shabangu (Madoda)
  • Sibusiso Msimang (Nkulu)
  • Sihle Xaba (Nhlanhla)
  • Warren Masemola (Xolani)
  • Zimkhitha Nyoka (Zanele)
  • Nomonde Mbusi (Thobeka)
  • Azwile Chamane (Zodwa)


Director Akin Omotoso
Screenplay Craig Freimond, Tshabalira Lebakeng, Zaiboo Anthony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Harriet Perlman, Robbie Thorpe
Cinematography Kabelo Thathe
Editing Vuyani Sondlo
Music Joel Assaizky
Sound Guy Steer
Production Design Amanda Scholtz
Make-Up Louiza Calore
Casting Moonyeenn Lee
Executive Producers Matthew Moodley, Jan Du Plessis, Cecil Barry
Producers Rethabile Molatela Mothobi, Robbie Thorpe, Akin Omotoso, Harriet Perlman, Ronnie Apteker

World sales

APA Agency

Produced by

Rififi Pictures


Akin Omotoso

Born in Nigeria in 1974, he has lived in South Africa since 1992. An actor and director who studied speech and drama at the University of Cape Town, he won a South African Film and Television Award for his work as a television director.


2003 God Is African 2011 Man On Ground; IFB Panorama 2015 Tell Me Sweet Something 2016 A Hotel Called Memory 2017 Vaya

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017