Affecting and uplifting, this gorgeous documentary and animated fiction hybrid tells the story of a young girl as imagined by a group of orphaned Swazi children. Executive produced by Thandie Newton and animated by artist Shofela Coker, five children from a self-sustaining agricultural orphanage in Swaziland create a story under the guidance of South African children’s author Gcina Mhlophe. In this tale-within-a-tale, the orphans invent a character drawn from their own experience. Their character, Liyana, is a brave and strong girl who lives in a thatched hut with her mother, father and two brothers. Their story never shies away from pain and loss – her father often comes home drunk and is unfaithful to her mother. The tragedy is that he contracts HIV, passing it on to Liyana’s mother.
True to their own lives, resilience is key to the narrative the children tell – a fairytale imbued with tenderness and courage. A genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.