Beyond the River: Terence chats to Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini

Beyond the River: Terence chats to Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini

The Duzi Canoe Marathon is at the centre of a new South African film. In an exclusive one-on-one interview, Terence Pillay chats to the men the characters are based on, Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini.

Beyond the River

LISTEN: Terence chats to Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini

'Beyond the River' is a story about perseverance, friendship, and going beyond. Two men from vastly different walks of life are brought together by their determination to win gold in one of the toughest river races in the world, the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold at the 2014 Dusi, 'Beyond the River' delivers a nail-biting adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit.
The locally produced, proudly South African movie hits cinemas on 27 April.
The film stars screen legend Grant Swanby (Blood Diamond, Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom, and Invictus) as Steve, and Lemogang Tsipa (When We Were Black, Traffic!, and Jab), who makes his debut lead role, as Duma. Other cast members include Israel Sipho Matseke Zulu, formerly Makoe (Yizo Yizo, Tsotsi, and Gaz’lam), Emily Child (Shirley Adams and Village Voices), Mary Twala (Beat the Drum, and Lucky), Kgosi Mongake (Invictus, The Bang Bang Club, and Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom), and Garth Breytenbach (Black Sails, and Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom).
After another near miss with the law, Duma is forced back into the world of canoeing, and in so doing his passion and dream to paddle the Dusi is reignited. When Steve’s long time partner decides to paddle with someone else, he is stuck without a partner to complete his 15th Dusi and possibly win his 10th gold medal. After some convincing, he agrees to give Duma, or ‘helicopter’ (an old nickname given to him because of his speed in the water), a shot. But there are a few things they must overcome – one is struggling to break out of a life of crime and poverty – the other is dealing with a marriage on the verge of collapse. Somewhere along their journey, both on and off the river, their lives change forever.

Brought to the big screen by Heartlines and Quizzical Pictures, the movie was written by Craig Freimond and Robbie Thorpe, directed by Freimond, and produced by Thorpe, Harriet Gavshon, and Ronnie Apteker. The beautifully shot film showcases some of South Africa’s spectacular KwaZulu-Natal landscapes and has been funded by the National Lotteries Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation, and the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission.

With sponsors Discovery Health, Vodacom, and AdReach, 'Beyond the River' is a must-see for the whole family. Two books published by Pan Macmillan, 'Beyond the River', adapted for the film, and part of Heartlines’ What’s Your Story book series, 'Confluence', Cruickshanks’ true story of his journey with Ntondini, will be released alongside the film.

Piers and Siseko - Duma and Steve
Image: Supplied

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You can email Terence Pillay at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter, @terencepillay1, and engage with him there.

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