Tsotsi: The undesirable lifestyle

tsotsi21One of the films we watched for class was Tstosi. The film was not like the others we watched. It had a lot of gang violence and thug lifestyles. Not at all like the educational film sets of Have You Heard From Johannesburg?, which taught us a lot about South African history. I did not expect the film to teach us much, but it did.

The film gave us a modern look into the lifestyles of the poor in Southtsotsi Africa. Tstosi the main character from the movie ran away from his home with an abusive father and a sick mother and raised himself with another group of homeless children. He had to learn to be self sufficient and to protect himself, which brought him into his thug lifestyle.

His life took a turn when he stole a car that had a baby boy in the back seat. He started to develop a caring relationship for the child. It was a big moment in the movie to see a guy who could shoot and kill a person without thought care for a young baby. I feel that he felt a connection to the baby and wanted to give the baby the life he had never gotten himself.


When Tsotsi took the baby in he seemed to turn his life around and began to show the good side of himself. It made me feel conflicted. I did not develop a liking for his character at the beginning of the movie because of his careless nature of being able to beat someone up or kill them. Yet I saw a more sensitive side of him, one that cared for others (particularly the baby) and felt that he wasn’t as bad a person after all.

Although the movie did not say what his mother was sick with, I believe it was HIV/AIDS which tear families apart. Not only is it the stress of dealing with the disease but also the stigma that comes along with it. The loss of a loved one to the disease is devastating enough, but many people look down upon others who are sick or related to those who are sick.

Unfortunately many of the poor people in South Africa are not educated on the disease which is why it is more prevalent. tsotsiTsotsi’s father would not let him near his mother because she was sick and didn’t understand that it would not be transmitted through touch. That scene really got to me because his mother was calling to him to come see her, but the father was threatening him not to get closer. It was difficult to watch that scene, especially when the father began to beat their family dog who was barking to protect Tsotsi and his mother. I do not like to see anyone, human or animal being hurt and it made the reality of the hardships these people face each day clear.

Much of the events in the film are representative of what goes on in the poorer areas of South Africa today. Although apartheid is gone it left tremendous amounts of damage to be fixed. The reality is that there are still people who live in less than desirable circumstances and they are desperate for a way to get out of it. Unfortunately some of these people turn to crime to get themselves out of the situation. Hopefully with more help and aid the people of South Africa can live a better lifestyle.


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