Adventure drama of spirit and strength

Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks
Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks

April sees the publication of Piers Cruickshanks’s Confluence – Beyond the River with Siseko Ntondini, telling the story of two men from different backgrounds who formed an unlikely partnership.

Cruickshanks is an English teacher and director of academics at Kingsmead College in Johannesburg and his achievements in the sport of canoeing have taken him to some seldom-seen corners of South Africa, as well as to many competitions nationally and internationally.

Cruikshanks, of Dabulamanzi Canoe Club, and Siseko Ntondini, of the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club, won gold against all odds in the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Described as the true story behind the Heartlines film Beyond the River, screened in Port Elizabeth last month, Confluence is very much a South African story.

It tells the uplifting story of their canoe marathon partnership: Cruickshanks was a seasoned paddler who had won multiple gold medals in the Dusi while Ntondini was a paddler who had come up through the ranks of the Soweto Canoe Club.

Their dream was to win a gold medal in the Dusi, but, in order to get to the start line, they need to overcome cultural and physical challenges to create a winning combination.

Beyond the River is loosely based on this true story. In addition to being a dramatic adventure story about the triumph of the human spirit, the film also features a host of picturesque locations.

In the film, Lemogang Tsipa made his leading debut as Duma, a young man on the wrong side of the law but with a passion for canoeing.

Alongside him is Grant Swanby, a screen legend who also had a role in the Heartlines film The Miners.

Confluence is published by Pan Macmillan and will retail for R209.

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