Tsotsi is directly translated to the word “thug”. This explains the beginning of this film. Tsotsi is a man, living in Soweto who robs people, sometimes causing them harm to get their money. In the beginning of this film, he shoots a wealthy woman in order to steal her car, not realizing that there is a child in the back seat. Tsotsi, born David, was neglected as a child because his mother was extremely ill and his father was abusive. By judging his character up to this point, you would think he did not have enough of a kind soul to take care of the child, but because he could relate to it, he scooped it up in a giant shopping back and took it back to his small shack. Throughout the film, we see Tsotsi struggle to care for the child, but also show signs of compassion.
Tsotsi shows that some struggles in South Africa, are no longer about race, but about poverty. The child and the family of the child were black, and extremely wealthy. However, Tsotsi had grown up basically by himself, in concrete cylinders in a large open area. When Tsotsi would enter the city, he would walk around as though he was the one who owned the town. He was extremely confident in robbing people in these wealthy areas. I feel it was because he didn’t have a lot to lose, but if he acted confidently then he would be able to fit in well enough where people would not look at him differently.
I felt that Tsotsi’s interactions with the poor man in the wheelchair were extremely uplifting. At first, he was extremely rude to the man, by not answering his questions and demanding him to stand up, even though he was clearly crippled. He then proceeded to spill his box of money all over the floor and tell the poor man to pick it up. However, by the end of the film Tsotsi had a change of heart. He then got a large amount of money and donated it to the man.
This crippled man had a part to do in the way that Tsotsi changed. Tsotsi asked the man why he wanted to keep living when he couldn’t walk and was poor. The man responded that he enjoyed the way the sun felt on his skin. I think that this made Tsotsi reconsider everything he did.
When people put themselves though situations that don’t seem ideal, but have a small reason to keep living, it is truly inspirational. I feel the baby was one reason why Tsotsi wanted to start caring more and reconsider what type of person he could have been, instead of who he had become. Even the act of returning the baby was a big step for Tsotsi, and the way he cried at the end showed that he did have some compassion for the child, and for himself. The baby to Tsotsi was the equivalent to the old man’s sun.