Under Four Trees


In 1997, the Zulu children in rural Mnqobokazi, South Africa did not have a school in their village. The community leaders recognized the need for education and wanted to have a local school. They selected a spot for the new school and hired Mrs. Zikhali to be the teacher. She was elated that she was chosen to run the new Nkomo Primary School but was very disappointed to discover there were no classrooms. However, because she loved children, she decided to change her disappointment into hope. Her passion was contagious and she was able to get enough funding from the Africa Foundation to build the first two classrooms. Her initial success drew more children to attend her school and the need for more classrooms and teachers, and more money. The film will interweave cinema verite scenes, interviews, and still photos as it reveals the physical, emotional, and economic challenges that Mrs. Zikhali and the children face. The story will focus on her struggles and tasks she had to overcome in order to build classrooms as well as a care and support system for the orphan and vulnerable children. The film will highlight Thuli and Siyabonga who began their schooling under the tree classrooms. They share their individual stories as we see where they live, how they manage their day to day lives, and the influence Mrs. Zikhali and Nkomo Primary School has had on them. It follows her journey as she develops into a leader, motivating not just the learners and the educators but the male dominated tribal community.

Film Details
  • Country(ies): South Africa
  • Language(s): English, Zulu
  • Running time: 60 minutes
  • Director(s): John Simpson
  • Producer(s): Suzanne Cross
  • Cinematographer(s): Alexis Holloway
  • Editor(s): Jeremy Ambers
  • With: Nomusa Zikhali, Principal Nkomo School
  • Website: http://www.underfourtrees.com

FSP 1301