• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Yesterday is a 2004 drama film from South Africa, both written and directed by . At the 77th Academy Awards, the film was nominated in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. It also garnered recognition at the first Africa Movie Academy Awards, winning both Best Sound and Best Editing. The story follows a young mother named Yesterday (portrayed by ) who discovers she has AIDS, after being infected by her husband, a migrant mine laborer, who then rejects her. Despite this, Yesterday is determined to live long enough to see her daughter, Beauty, go to school. Notably, this film is the first commercially produced feature-length movie in Zulu.


Yesterday is a Zulu mother residing in the rural village of Rooihoek, South Africa, with her seven-year-old daughter, Beauty. Her days are spent toiling in the fields, fetching water, and cutting firewood while also keeping Beauty occupied. When a new teacher arrives in the village, Yesterday befriends her. However, she is plagued by a persistent cough and weakness, prompting a visit to the local clinic, where she is turned away without seeing a doctor. Her collapse at home results in a traditional healer's visit and a return to the clinic via her friend's assistance, where she learns she has AIDS, likely contracted from her husband working in a mine. John reacts poorly when she informs him, beating her and eventually returning home sick from the disease himself. Due to community intolerance, Yesterday constructs a makeshift hospital on a nearby hill, where she and Beauty care for John until his death. Afterward, her focus turns to preparing Beauty for school, as her one wish is to see her daughter attend. Despite her illness, Yesterday perseveres, watching Beauty on her first day of school before walking away, determined to live as long as possible.


Directed by
Produced by Anant Singh
Helena Spring
Written by
Starring ,
Distributed by HBO Films (USA)
Release date 3 September 2004
Running time 96 minutes
Country South Africa
Language Zulu

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