Based on a true story, Sew the Winter to My Skin is a keenly observed epic-adventure drama that captures the horror of South Africa’s racist colonial regime through the life of the Apartheid-era folk hero John Kepe. Self-proclaimed the “Samson of the Boschberg”, Kepe stole livestock and other goods from white colonist farmers, collecting and sharing his spoils with the impoverished Indigenous population. Inevitably, he became a political threat to the very fabric of the ruling society. For over a decade Kepe escaped capture, until a manhunt, led by the decorated World War II veteran General Botha, resulted in his prosecution and ensuing death sentence for a murder that he might or might not have committed.
Rejecting dialogue, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka relies on an immersive score and visual cues to follow the captivating chase of the legendary native outlaw through 1950’s rural South Africa. Through Qubeka’s evocative formal choices, the story explores the effects of colonial displacement, a racially charged society and humanity’s desire for heroes - whether real or fabricated - or as Qubeka says, "mankind’s inherent need to feed into mythologies that conveniently suit the order of the day.”