docLOVE May: One Take Grace

docLOVE May: One Take Grace

Please join the DFA’s docLOVE Screenings Programme for a special screening of One Take Grace directed by Lindiwe Matshikiza.

  • The Bioscope Independent Cinema, Milpark, Johannesburg | 31 May at 7pm | RSVP via Bioscope website
  • Bertha House, Mowbray, Cape Town | 31 May at 6pm | RSVP via
  • Isivivana Centre Cinema, 8 Mzala Street, Khayelitsha | 2 June at 6pm | Seating is unreserved and free.

An experimental cinematic portrait of Mothiba Grace Bapela (58), South African mother, grandmother, film & television actor, and former domestic worker for over forty years. Bapela recounts and performs some of her life experiences, observing and absorbing what goes on in the intimacy of other people’s homes and families – ranging from the banal to the macabre – while suppressing her own frustrated desires and trauma. Narrated by Bapela herself, it is the perspective of one who has spent the majority of her life servicing the dreams of others, attempting to use her experiences to break through to her own. Director Lindiwe Matshikiza leads a multidisciplinary creative process in producing this collaboratively-made portrait of the often precarious, sometimes miraculous position of an African female migrant worker.

The collaboration between artist, Lindiwe Matshikiza (39), and actor and community leader, Mothiba Grace Bapela (58) began with the two women meeting as actors on a local film set in 2010. Lindiwe was struck by Mme Bapela’s reflections on her life, and on the conflict of needing steady – if poorly paid – domestic work, alongside the desire to break into a more satisfying though equally problematic, poorly paid and unreliable film and television industry. That first encounter started a process of collaboration lasting over a decade, with Lindiwe following Mme Bapela around – sometimes with the help of friends with equipment, sometimes alone, with whatever was on hand – recording her day-to-day life and past experiences. Through this deeply intimate project, a portrait of both the woman and the country begins to emerge, with certain questions being asked: How are the roles of our dysfunctional society dished out? Who’s doing the casting? What kind of set is this??

Lindiwe Matshikiza is a Johannesburg-based multidirectional artist with a background in theatre-making and a special focus on performance, writing, directing and intuition. Her projects are largely process-driven, collaborative, often take on more than one form over time, and she has worked with a wide range of artists across various kinds of practice in Africa and the rest of the world. In recent years, Lindiwe has been a fellow of The Camargo Foundation (France), Vila Sul (Brazil) and Institute for Creative Arts (SA). She is co-founder of Motherbox: Organisation for Cooperation in the Arts together with artists, João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga and Mmakgosi Kgabi. Her last film as an actor was the irreverent Film Festival Film (directed by Mpumelelo Mcata and Perivi Katjavivi) in which she conspired with the directors and crew to play a fictional character amidst real industry players at a prominent South African film festival. She extended this work by reprising her role and staging a controversial performance intervention at the film’s premiere at the Berlinale in 2019. Her first film as a director, One Take Grace, was a creative documentary made in collaboration with Mothiba Grace Bapela over ten years, for which they won the Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at IDFA 2021.


The docLOVE programme is supported by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP3) administered by the NFVF.