Lesotho - Mapule's Choice

Transmission date: Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Language: SeSotho with English subtitles
It is wrong to keep secrets that hurt you.

A young garment worker from Maseru must choose between keeping a secret and saving herself. Can she find the strength to challenge her abusive husband and confront his feelings of shame?

Story synopsis

Mapule finds nothing to celebrate. Her friend Morongoe and fellow workers are celebrating a victory: Mr Wong, the factory owner, has allowed time off for HIV-positive people to go for checkups. Mapule won’t join the celebrations; instead she meets her abusive husband in a shebeen. While he drinks and flirts with other women, Sello insists that she parties along. Feeling unwell, Mapule leaves and goes home. Later that night she must face the consequence of her actions – his violent anger.

Mapule is on ARVs, but Sello demands she keeps it a secret. So, the next day she travels a long distance to a faraway clinic, to receive her treatment there. At the clinic, she witnesses the love and support other HIV-positive couples give to one another. Feeling very alone, she leaves.

Back at the factory, Morongoe can’t stand it anymore. She can see what Sello’s abusive behaviour is doing to her friend. What’s more, the workers need Mapule’s support. But Mapule remains quiet. One day Mapule sees herself through the eyes of a little boy being bullied by older kids on the street. She is inspired. Can she find the strength to challenge Sello and confront his feelings of shame? 

Producer: Tumelo Matobako

*Tumelo on Lesotho’s industry

‘There are a couple of production houses in Lesotho but there are passionate filmmakers who do documentaries and short films. The ground is fertile in Lesotho for so many projects and so many things to be done, but there are so few opportunities.

I think there is a saying in the Bible that says a prophet is never recognised in his own country – that’s the challenge in Lesotho. If you say you’ve done a film they don’t really take you seriously. If it’s appreciated outside, then they take you seriously, but I’m hoping that with this film that people will see the importance of film and also what film can do to effect change.

The key message of our film, first and foremost, is for women – they don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship, there’s a way out.’


Sitting in his second year lecture at the University of Witwatersrand, where Tumelo majored in genetics and microbiology, he asked himself, “Is this it, for the rest of my life? A career stuck in a lab discovering genes?” A resounding ‘no’ was the answer.

He graduated with his degree and immediately began working in the TV and film industry. Tumelo is a self-taught editor, who soon found himself burning the midnight oil in different edit suites, when all he really wanted was to become an actor.

He has since worked on TV documentaries and short films as an editor. He is co-founder of a Midrand-based production company called Vision 12 Productions and a shareholder in a Maseru-based media company, MaS 24.6 Media.

Writer and director: Kaizer Matsumunyane

*Kaizer interacting with other filmmakers

‘The Soul City training programme was an opportunity. It was a shot at really making something of us as young filmmakers. I feel more competent as a director and I really learnt a lot.

Being part of the Soul City regional programme obviously gave us an opportunity to interact with other filmmakers from other African countries. Interacting with other filmmakers shows how similar our circumstances are. When you meet with other filmmakers, your world gets opened. I learnt that I’m not alone, that together we have the same vision, and together we can achieve that vision. I cannot change the world alone. So we need each other.’


This Mosotho is a winner all the way. Finishing his degree in humanities at the National University of Lesotho, his hunger for film found him sitting outside the office of The Cape Town International Film School until they gave him a scholarship. His second-year script won funding of R25 000, which he used to make a short film. The film won an award earning him the M-Net title of “Most Promising Writer”.

At the end of his studies, he returned to Lesotho where he worked for TV Lesotho before starting his own company. He entered a script into a competition for South African filmmakers by HIVOS/Sithengi. With the money he won, he made a short film called Untitled, which has been shown at film festivals like the Lion Film Festival.


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