5 Reasons Why Kalushi is the Breakout Film this Freedom Day

‘My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight.’ – Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu


Freedom Day, observed annually on the 27th of April, celebrates the stories of South African heroes, who through their continuous struggle and prowess, fought for the freedom we enjoy today. Men and women like Chris Hani, Nelson Mandela, Helen Suzman, Charlotte Maxeke and many more, tirelessly stood with us, for us, to bring change that would later lead to the country’s first-ever democratic vote in 1994. Today it is our collective responsibility to reflect on their bravery, as well as honour their patriotism by learning from their choices.


One such icon is Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu*, whose legacy lives on through a gripping biographical drama on Netflix, entitled Kalushi. The film, powerful in its execution and messaging speaks to his life, and chiefly, his iconic trial, that contributed to the changed course of South African history, so emotively.


Here are 5 interesting facts about Kalushi, now streaming on Netflix, which make this film a kickass production:


  • Kalushi means “Sent From God” in Swahili

  • Pearl Thusi stars in the film and plays the role of Brenda Riveria, Mahlangu’s love interest. Thusi can also be seen in Queen Sono and Catching Feelings, currently streaming on Netflix

  • Gcina Mhlophe plays Martha Mahlangu, mother to Solomon Mahlangu. This is of particular significance as Mhlophe herself was an anti-apartheid activist. Mhlophe is also a director and author and is one of the few successful females in South Africa in this field

  • Thabo Rametsi is the first South African to portray a political liberation hero in a major feature film. Americans always portray this role and for the first time, we can hear and see our stories from the voices and faces of our people

  • Mahlangu’s iconic quotes during his trial still ring true today. Some of his most memorable quotes are,  ‘My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight.’ and ‘I don’t care what they do to me. And if they spill my blood, maybe it will give birth to other Solomons.’


*About Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu 

Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was a South African struggle activist and operative of the ANC militant wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. Mahlangu, who was 19 at the time, had his schooling interrupted by the 1976 Soweto Uprisings and journey to exile in Mozambique and later Angola. Here, he was recruited and trained by the militant wing. Upon his return to South Africa, he and three comrades-in-arms were deemed suspicious by cops who found their weaponry, and Mahlangu and Mondy Motlaung fled and found refuge in a warehouse. Motlaung opened fire and killed two employees and eventually, Mahlangu and Motaung were arrested.  Even though Mahlangu was innocent, both were charged and Mahlangu pleaded not guilty. The judge acknowledged that Motlaung had killed the employees, however since he was severely beaten and brain damaged, Mahlangu was charged with murder under the Common Purpose Law act.