The Mother’s House

François Verster

South Africa 2006, 76 min.

Miché is a typical teenager, very straightforward and curious. She is a bright girl who wants to go to a good school. She lives with her mother and siblings in her mother’s house in the “coloured” township of Bonteheuwel, just outside Cape Town. She is part of the new generation of black South Africans who actually have the opportunity to get an education. Miché’s mother says that she never dreamed about getting an education when she was young; it was not an option for a black girl during apartheid.

mothers-house2Thus, Miché is fortunate, she does not have to live under suppression. The mother is unfortunate, as she never got an education. The fathers of her children left her, and she got HIV along the way. Her body is still well and fit, but her mind is not. She is frustrated and ashamed of her situation and takes out the frustrations on her family. This saddens Miché and makes her want to leave her mother. But she is still a child who needs her mother, just like her mother needs her own mother in turn. Miché’s grandmother is afraid she was too strict on Miché’s mother when she was young. The grandmother thinks that this has turned Miché’s mother into an angry person. Although each of the three women have their own struggles, the film is not just about their problems – far from it. It is about how life can be brutal and beautiful at the same time at different ages. It shows their fights, laughs, a birth, tears, a confirmation, a party, and their love for each other.

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