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Friday, May 10, 2019


(Grant Swanby)

A proudly South African film, Beyond the River. which features former Durban actor Grant Swanby, has warmed the hearts of South Africans across all walks of life, and even made waves during a visit to the Sonoma Film Festival in California in 2018. Now this moving story about building bridges through sport continues its journey abroad, having made its way to London for a special multi-day screening in honour of Freedom Day.

The South African High Commission will off Beyond the River’s London tour on Freedom Day with a premiere, followed by another special screening sponsored by the London Telegraph, where the cast was present for a Q&A session. The following evening, April 28, saw the film screened in 40 movie theatres throughout London.

Beyond the River is a 2017 South African film loosely based on the true story of the sporting partnership between Piers Cruickshanks of the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club, and Siseko Ntondini of the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club, who won gold against all odds in the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Produced by South African NGO Heartlines, the film tells the story of the experienced and gritty but partly broken Steve (played by Grant Swanby) and Duma, the lion-hearted rookie-come-upstart from Soweto (played by Lemogang Tsipa) and the confluence of their journeys to self-realisation.

The film’s success comes on the back of a 16-year partnership and social development project led by outdoor advertising and integrated marketing specialists ADreach Group together with the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club (SCARC).

Ntondini, a long-time beneficiary of the project at just 23 years old says, “Our club is not just about sport, it’s about the lessons one learns through sport and how to apply it to our education and chosen careers.”

Brad Fisher, Founder and CEO of ADreach Group as well as the stalwart behind SCARC, insists that these priorities remain paramount in the club’s ethos. “We are hoping that this story will continue to inspire people around the globe to reach out, build bridges and go beyond,” says Fisher.

Garth Japhet, CEO of Heartlines, says: “It is with great pride that Beyond the River has made it to London. This film was produced as part of our ‘What's Your Story?’ initiative, a project inspiring and supporting ordinary South Africans to get to know each other in order to build understanding and promote reconciliation. Already thousands in workplaces, churches and schools have experienced this magic. How fitting that the film screening should have coincided with Freedom Day, commemorating the South African reconciliation and nation building task that started 25 years ago.”

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