Number (The)

  • Number (The)
Genre : Drama
Type : Fiction
Original title : 28
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2017
Format : Feature
Running time : 90 (in minutes)

In this harrowing, based-on-fact story about South Africa's most dangerous and notorious prison gang, a high-echelon gang member begins to question his allegiance to his "family" after a young recruit is brutally killed.

A film by Khalo Matabane

South Africa, 2017, Fiction, 1h30 minutes, colour, isiZulu / English / seSotho / seTswana / Afrikaans, 14A

starring Mothusi Magano, Kevin Smith, Warren Masemola, Presley Chweneyagae, Deon Lotz, Lemo Tsipa, Charlton George

It's one of the most dangerous prison gangs in the world: The Numbers. Initiation into this South African criminal network comes at the cost of blood and, once a member is sworn in, the commitment lasts for life. The latest from Khalo Matabane (whose previous feature, State Of Violence, was at the Festival in 2010) takes us into this world of violence to find unexpected places of humanity.

Based on the life of actual gang defector Magadien Wentzel (played by Mothusi Magano, last seen at TIFF in 2013's Of Good Report), The Number finds Magadien at a crossroads. Part of the 28s - the "warrior" faction of The Numbers - Magadien has risen to the upper echelons of power. But when a young recruit is killed, the hardened prisoner begins to question his allegiance to his family on the inside, which has cost him his family on the outside. Now under the watch of a new warden, Magadien has the chance to make early release if he can turn his back on the 28s, and if he can find the strength to face himself.

Matabane draws on his past documentary work to capture the harrowing reality that is life inside while anchoring The Number in Magadien's inner journey. The result is an atmospheric take on the possibility not just of rehabilitation but of redemption.

KIVA REARDON (TIFF 2017, Toronto)

Tags: Social Justice, Life Experiences, SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN, Drama

Khalo Matabane

Paul Ian Johnson

inspired by the book THE NUMBER written by Jonny Steinberg

Dewald Aukema

Production Designer
Willie Botha

Gita Cerveria

Original Score
Philip Miller

Megan Gill Ronelle Loots Nick Costaras

Executive Producers
Carolyn Carew Khalo Matabane Tsholo Mashile Anant Singh Sanjeev Singh

Carolyn Carew Laurent Medea

Production Company
Born Free Media

US Distributor
Distant Horizon

US Sales
Distant Horizon

Videovision Entertainment

International Sales
Videovision Entertainment

2017 | TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival
* Selection - Contemporary World Cinema
* World Premiere


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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