The Bet

Director: Hlomla Dandala
Writer: Busi Ntintili and Michèle Rowe
Director of Photography: Trevor Brown
Editor: Megan Gill
Languages: This film was shot in English and isiXhosa


High school is all about pressure: the pressure to excel, viagra 100mg to be cool and to fit in. Biko, sildenafil played by Atandwa Kani, knows all about pressure. On the brink of writing his matric exams, Biko’s priorities are girls and having fun. To prove how cool he is, he agrees to a bet with his friends. He will prove he can seduce the virginal, diligent, serious Ayanda in return for having sex with Lizzie, the most popular girl in school. Despite herself, Ayanda – who is trying to secure a place with the African Ballet Theatre – finds herself attracted to Biko. Biko, in turn, falls for Ayanda. Meanwhile, Biko’s friends, Zane and Craig, are facing their own demons. Craig must get into medical school to please his parents. Zane is caught up in dealing drugs to his schoolmates. With the bet to be revealed at Zane’s year-end party, every thing is on the line. Biko struggles to find a way to tell Ayanda the truth. But will she forgive him? Will Craig learn to follow his own heart and not that of his parents? Will Zane escape the long arm of the law? The choices they make will determine their future. The Bet is directed by former Isidingo star and All You Need is Love presenter Hlomla Dandala


Archie Mzazi – Phakane Nokwe
Archie Mzazi attented Art and Drama classes at the Pretoria Technikon and obtained his Diploma in Script Analysis. Mzazi is involved in directing Muvhango and Mponeng. “I am more of a behind the scenes kind of person, but for a change I really enjoyed working with young and upcoming directors,” he said of Heartlines. Working with Atandwa Kani, who played his son in “The Bet”, was a highlight for him, for not only is he the son of theatre icon John Kani, but a very good up-and-coming artist. “Parents have to watch this movie to learn more about today’s growing youth.” he said. Mzazi’s other television credits include among others “Bad”, “Soul Buddy’s”, “Soul City”, “Going Up II” and “Zatshi’ngamla”.

Atandwa Kani – Biko Nokwe
Atandwa Kani is the son of theatre heavyweight John Kani. He is a third year student studying Dramatic Arts and Drama at the University of Witwatersrand. A challenge for Kani was making the transition from stage to film as stage had been his forte. “I must admit it was truly a memorable cross over for me, not only as an artist, but as an individual too,” he said. He says of the Heartlines project and why he wanted to be involved: “I am South African and I am proud to announce that I was part of a great South African story telling. It goes back to where we as South Africans have started.”

Nozipho Nkelemba – Ayanda Sibeko
Nozipho auditioned at the National School of Arts in Braamfontein for her part as Ayanda Sibeko in “The Bet”. She says she rehearsed for her part and believed that she was capable of telling the story of her character. “As this was my real first movie, I knew I had to be professional,” she says. She believes that Heartlines will educate and entertain South Africans and sends out strong messages.

Shodine Schalkwyk – Lizzie
Schalkwyk auditioned for the part of Lizzie at the National School of Arts in Braamfontein where she is currently studying. She believes that her contribution in the Heartlines Project has opened new doors for her in the world of entertainment. “It has made me grow as an actress and an artist. I have also learned to be myself and to live my life to the fullest.” She said. Schalkwyk added that the South African youth can learn values such as tolerance, acceptance and respect out of this film.

Robert Pombo – Craig Hasley
Pombo, who plays Craig in The Bet, attended Krugersdorp High School and matriculated in 2004. He is a second-year drama student at the University of Witwatersrand. Some of his television credits include “His Name is Oliver”, a South African version of Oliver Twist directed and adapted by Karoly Kramly and performed at the Wits Main theatre as part of Amfest 1999. He also sang and did voice-overs on educational CDs with Des and Dawn Lindberg entitled “Who am I?” He’s played the character “Polgaro” in “Mystic”, a children’s play written and directed by Karoly Kramly and Nico Van Niekerk. He is involved in a physical theatre workshop piece entitled “Spectator” directed by Gerad Bester. Robert said, “I loved the whole story line in the Heartlines Series, because it’s all about moral regeneration. Also the issue of holding sex before marriage and not to take life for granted.”

Locations and further information:
Directed by Hlomla Dandala, The Bet is a coming-of-age story shot at Sandringham High School. Most of the actors in the film are young students, from The National School of the Arts, in Johannesburg; Wits Drama School and the South African School of Motion Picture and Live Performance (AFDA). The production also had a professional Ballet dancer, Lorna Maseko, act as body double for our lead actress, Nozipho Nkelemba, who plays ‘Ayanda’.

Isaiah Winston Ntshona MLA
Phakane Nokwe Archie Mzazi MLA
Biko Nokwe Atandwa Kani Independent
Ayanda Sibeko Nozipho Nkelemba Prof Kids
Ayanda Body Double Lorna Maseko Legends
Zane Thema Litha Booi Gaenor
Craig Hasley Robert Pombo Independent
Lizzie Shodine Schalkwyk Independent
Thembi Nthabi Mphahlele Legends
Jacqui Kamo Mampe Legends
Mira Ashleigh Harvey Penny Charteris
Boy 1 David Robinson X-Factor
Boy 2 Scott Smit Independent
Mr Nelson James Alexander Contractors
Choreographer Owen Lonzar Independent
Sphiwe Mbogeni Nhlapo Prof Kids
Police Officer Etienne Muller Independent
Cynthia Nobulali Dangazele Prof Kids
Iphendule Mamokolo Mosalo Prof Kids


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Hlomla Dandala – Sexy son of a preacher man
By Rowena Seabrook

Hlomla Dandala, acclaimed actor and director – well educated, well travelled, suave and super sexy, yet at heart, the simple son of a preacher man.

Dandala recently directed the film “The Bet” which is part of the Heartlines film series and premiers on SABC2 on Sunday (SUBS AUGUST 13). The series is being screened on all three SABC channels and a project of the Mass Media Project. The aim of the eight-movie series is to spark national debate on values within South African society and to bring about positive values-driven transformation.

“The Bet” focuses on the value of self control, and although it features teenagers largely, it speaks to people of all ages. A few of the issues covered in the film are: HIV/Aids, peer pressure, family relationships and pre-marital and casual sex.

Hlomla’s father is the Reverend Dr Mvume Dandala, the patron of Heartlines, and when Hlomla first heard about the project from his father many months back, he immediately wanted to be involved.

A few months later, he says, Curious Pictures, executive producers of the series, called and asked him to look at the scripts for “Heartlines” and “The Bet”. “I was very excited about working on this campaign and ‘The Bet’ spoke to me the most,” he says.

Dandala first came to our screens when he presented the popular TV programme “All you need is love”. He then joined the crew and cast of popular local TV series “Isidingo”. He performed as Derek Nyathi for about three years on the set, with his last year spent acting in and directing Isidingo.

Dandala says he enjoys acting and directing equally. “When you direct you are much more invested and somehow the work is a great deal more taxing, whereas with acting it’s a matter of learning one’s lines and doing your best to play that character. Not that I think acting is easy, because it is not! I do not love one more than the other though.”

After Isidingo, Hlomla directed the series “Gaz’lam!” It was commissioned by SABC EDUCATION and a Canadian film company. It was mainly educational, focusing on twenty-something year olds in Africa and how they dealt with life in general and the pandemic of Aids.

Hlomla says that he selects films and projects that “talk to him”. – “If I start seeing pictures in my head when reading the script, then I know I am eager to get involved and I know it will be good. If it doesn’t speak to me, then I don’t even consider it.”

Because of his father’s work as a cleric, Hlomla’s family constantly moved home. His background is diverse and saw him living in almost all of South Africa’s provinces – even a period in England. This taught him to become adaptable and tolerant of people from varying different walks of life. “It also taught me to enjoy my own company and to be self sufficient.”

Prayer and Sunday morning church services were an integral part of his life as a child, and still feature largely for him. “The Bet” and all other Heartlines’ movies are ‘God-based’, which Hlomla says is a very delicate subject. “Unfortunately religion is very often seen as judgemental and preachy. One has to be careful when trying to communicate to people. “The Bet” is aimed at teenagers who are even more difficult to get through to. It is better to engage people than to preach at them, and that was what I tried to do in the movie,” he says.

Hlomla says he drew on his experience with his Dad for the father-son relationship angles in The Bet. When I got to the part where the father discovers drugs in his son’s school bag, I could not go with the original script. In my mind my father would simply say: ” Do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I’m stupid?” For me, that is all that most fathers would say.”

Does Hlomla think that soap operas have questionable values? He hesitates in his reply and says: “There is a huge market for soap operas and people love them. Unfortunately they are driven by numbers and so it pays to go on broadcasting them! Most of the responsible soapies try to cover life issues. Anyway. I have nothing against them!”

Dandala’s next project is a drama series called ‘Jozi H’. “It is a hospital drama and I play the Human Resources director. It covers all of life’s issues, more specifically those within a hospital and most importantly, the issue of the HIV/Aids pandemic. I am very pleased to be a part of this team. It will be a brilliant series. It is a joint Canadian and South African transmission.”

Hlomla refers to the decade that he grew up in as the “nineteen – uglies” (Better known as the 1980’s) He tells a chilling story of his worst moment as a teenager. “My best friend’s father was mayor of East London where I lived in the Eastern Cape. At that time, apartheid was still in full swing and the majority of people saw it as a betrayal to work for government on any level. Even if you were totally opposed to the apartheid government, it was a sin to be employed by them. The community therefore took it upon themselves to ‘socially punish’ my best friend, and his father and mother. The punishment was necklacing them. This brutal act was somehow quite acceptable in the 80s,” he recalls.

His friend’s mother survived the ordeal, but his best friend and his friend’s father died. “It was very bizarre to be sitting in class with the same peers who had just committed such a brutal act. In those days this was seen as quite normal and I remember being shocked, hurt and totally confused. I could not conceive that life could just go on. But it did! Hlomla says that there is life after death. He says that the act took him years to get over, but sheer perseverance and hope pulled him through.

“The timing for the Heartlines project is perfect in my opinion. It seems that there is far too much violence, hatred and negativity within South African society. I know that it has only been 12 years since we had our first free and fair elections and there is much backlash from the apartheid era, but we need to work on these issues and the Heartlines’ initiative seems the perfect platform for that. In the past, before we attained our freedom, those of us who were fighting against the regime, seemed to pull together amazingly in order to bring about great change. It worked eventually. Here we are in 2006, and some of us are reaping the benefits. Surely we can once again as South Africans rise up in the name of goodness and overcome our difficulties?” he asks. – Heartlines Features