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Happiness is a Four Letter Word dazzles Jo’burg and Berlin

A true chick-flick HIAFLW portrays modern African women, who are struggling to balance careers, relationships and love while trying to maintain an image of living the new South African middle class dream.

The much-anticipated South African film Happiness is a Four Letter Word premiered in local cinemas on Friday, February 19th. Even before its release, the film made international waves at the Berlin International Film Festival, forming part of the impressive line-up at the prestigious annual event.

The film was adapted from Nozizwe Cynthia Jele’s award-winning novel by the same name, which won the Common Wealth Writer’s prize in 2011.

The story explores the lives of three Johannesburg-based best friends – Nandi (Mmabatho Montsho), Zaza (Khanyi Mbau) and Princess (Renate Stuurman) who have it all, except the ever elusive “true-love”.

In true chick-flick style, the three characters portray modern African women, struggling to balance careers, relationships and love. All while trying to maintain the façade of the new South African middle class dream.

Princess is a trendy art gallery owner with male-trust issues who lets her guard down and falls for the wrong kind of man. Zaza is the trophy wife who engages in an extramarital affair while her husband is away on never-ending business trips. Nandi is a perfectionist and career-driven lawyer who is about to get married but gets cold feet when an old flame reappears.

The film’s black women lead characters marks a positive development in the local film industry especially in the romantic comedy genre. The outpour of positive local and international reviews and its cultivation of African talent are the reasons why we Applaud it.

Pearl Mashabane
Johannesburg, South Africa. Pearl works in the diversity management and employee wellness sector in the public service. she loves traveling and learning to ask for food in as many languages as she can, just in case.
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