Cosmological distortion and coherence in Tsotsi (2005) : a perspective on the role of Miriam

Momberg, Marthie (2013-02)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at


In interpreting a film, the viewer actively participates in the construction of information. But whose perspective counts when doing so? Most people have such deep-seated frameworks of the universe that they do not even realise that farreaching differences between interpreting totality do exist between people. As a result, they often project their own cosmological views onto the characters in a film. Without considering a relevant cosmological perspective in Tsotsi, an understanding of gender roles may be deprived of the necessary nuance and unjust conclusions could be reached. What should be noted here, is that concepts such as wisdom, the maintenance of harmonious social relationships and the measuring of the quality of experience through texture that are often linked to the female principle are also typical symbolic expressions of a coherent traditional African cosmology. This article explores the role of Miriam within such framework to conclude that her character overcomes gender stereotypes.

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