Football, a passion for many, often reveals itself as the link that transcends generations, uniting parents and children in traditions such as going to the stadium or family gatherings in front of the television. In “The Kings of Queensland”, an inspirational drama directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka in collaboration with Clyde Berning on the plot, we witness the trajectory of Fezile (Likhona Mgali), a young football talent who aspires to a professional career. He is part of a junior team in Queenstown, where his performance is shaped and closely watched by his grandfather and coach, Mr Mahamba, a South African football legend.
In an early plot twist, during a match, Mahamba suffers a massive heart attack and does not survive. His funeral attracts the attention of several football personalities and receives extensive media coverage. However, Mahamba’s son Buyile (Zolisa Xaluva), also a successful former footballer, is stopped on the road on his way to the wake for drunk driving. Facing financial decline, living a carefree life and escaping his responsibilities, including raising his son Fezile, his return to Queenstown proves to be a difficult journey.
Despite being a promising young man with good character, Fezile resists getting closer to his father, harboring resentment for his past abandonment. Getting involved in confusion typical of rebellious adolescence, he searches for his identity and professional success. By ironies of fate, Buyile ends up becoming the coach of the Queenstown team, challenging not only the young players, but himself as well.
Qubeka’s film shows how football is rooted in South African culture, reflecting the passion of young people from peripheral areas, echoing the Brazilian reality. The plot unfolds in a region where aspiring players live modestly, face the danger of becoming involved with criminals and battle to gain their place in a world that does not treat them with benevolence and privileges. As in so many sports dramas, the Queenstown team faces ups and downs.
The feature film unfolds the complex relationship between Fezile and Buyile, while chronicling the journey of a father in search of redemption and a son towards maturity. Fezile faces romantic challenges, seeking to win over a girl considered “out of his league”, and balances his professional goals with commitments to the team, all while dealing with Buyile’s uncomfortable and increasingly prominent presence.
With football as the setting, the film also explores the personal issues experienced by other teenage players in Queenstown. As they experience defeats and victories, the work reveals the community’s unity and passion for sport, transmitting precious lessons of altruism, friendship, loyalty and forgiveness. The playing field is not just a place of competition, but a stage where stories of overcoming and redemption unfold.
Film: The Kings of Queenstown
Direction: Jahmil XT Qubeka